To ensure maximum participation of women in nation-building, Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has called for a Senate inquiry into the implementation of the Gender and Development (GAD) plans and programs under the present administration.
In filing Senate Resolution No. 670, De Lima underscored the need to strengthen compliance in the execution of gender-responsive programs by GAD to bridge the gap between men and women, especially during natural and man-made disasters.
“It is imperative for all government agencies and local government units to fulfill their obligation to efficiently utilize at least 5 percent of the appropriated budget towards implementing programs, plans and actions that contribute to gender mainstreaming,” she said.
Gender mainstreaming, she explained, is “a strategy which aims for the inclusion and prioritization of women’s concerns and perspectives within agencies through the creation of gender-responsive programs tailored to positively impact both women and men.”
De Lima, who was recognized by Amnesty International as one of the notable Women Human Rights Defenders under Threat, cited that Section 36(a) of Republic Act No. 9710, or the Magna Carta of Women Act, provides for the planning, budgeting, monitoring and evaluation for GAD.
The said provision stated in part that “the development of GAD programs shall proceed from the conduct of a gender audit of the agency or the local government unit and a gender analysis of its policies, programs, services and the situation of its clientele.”
“The cost of implementing GAD programs shall be the agency’s or the local government unit’s GAD budget which shall be at least five percent (5%) of the agency’s or the local government unit’s total budget appropriations,” she cited.
De Lima also pointed out a Commission on Audit report which revealed that out of 19 GAD programmed activities in the Office of the President, only six were implemented with a total cost of P532,406.00 – or 0.019% of the total appropriations of the agency.
She also noted a resolution, approved by the Bacolod City Council, requesting Mayor Evelio Leonardia to create the Barangay GAD monitoring and evaluation team after observing that some GAD plans and programs are not being implemented.
“Government agencies have the obligation to successfully integrate and implement gender mainstreaming in their respective appropriated budget and areas of development,” she noted.
De Lima also asked the Senate leadership to look into the pressing issues raised by several agencies during the 2017 GAD Budget Fora in November 2017, which include the needed clarifications regarding the types of programs and activities which can be charged to the GAD Budget, and the inclusion of work leaves especially for mothers of children with special concerns, among others.
Under Section 2(2) of Republic Act No. 7192 or the Women in Development and Nation Building Act, it stated that “all government departments shall ensure that women benefit equally and participate directly in the development programs and projects of said department, specifically those funded under official foreign development assistance, to ensure the full participation and involvement of women in the development process.”
A known defender of women human rights, De Lima has filed and co-authored several pro-women bills and resolutions in the Senate.
Among these were Senate Bill (SB) 1438 which seeks to protect women in state custody and PSRN 573 expressing the sense of the Senate affirming the state obligation of the Philippines to protect women human rights defenders from gender-based violence.