In the Philippines, concern about Violence Against Women and their Children (VAWC) has been rising since the 1980s when women non-government organizations (NGOs) succeeded in persuading the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (now Philippine Commission on Women by virtue of RA 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women) to include VAW in the Philippine Development Plan for Women (PPWD) 1989-1992. Subsequently, the long-term Philippine Plan for Gender-Responsive Development 1995-2025 has included VAW in its agenda which further defined VAW as “any violation of a woman’s personhood, mental or physical integrity or freedom of movement”. Mainly through the efforts of women’s NGOs which have consistently prodded the government to do more; there have been remarkable breakthroughs in the movement against VAW in the local scenario. In the city, an ordinance which provided for the protection and preservation of rights of women has been created—famously known as the City Ordinance No. 5004 or the Women Development Code of Davao City. Among the acts penalized under the code are acts of violence against women. It has also provided for the installation of a Legal Aid Services Check which is mainly for any legal actions needed by the women in protecting their rights which shall primarily include follow through and prosecution of women’s complaints. Two years after the creation of the code, the celebration of the annual Women’s Summit every first week of March begun, the purpose of which is to consult and consolidate the issues and concerns of community women and come-up with resolutions in answer thereto. Most consistent of these issues is the rise of incidences of VAWC and the lack of proper mechanisms to address them. Every year thereafter, women have continuously called for the creation of a gender-sensitive special legal team which will only cater VAWC cases. From the Anti-Abuse of Women in Intimate Relationship (AWIR) which seeks to penalize, as public crimes the acts of abuse committed against wives, former wives, live-in partners former female live-in partners and women with whom the abuser has or had sexual or dating relationships, Republic Act 9262 otherwise known as Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act came into conception and was later approved in March 2004. As a consequence thereof, reported VAWC cases doubled in number, most victims who seek legal advice from the Public Attorney’s Office and the City Prosecutor’s Office are not well-responded to as the latter could no longer keep up with the lag of cases. Hence, in June 2005, a program design calling for the creation of a VAWC Task Force composed of 5 full-time city paid lawyers was approved. Its operation had a formal start on September 2005. At present, the responsibility of giving legal intervention is assigned to a five lawyers who cater to an average of 10 to 15 clients a day. They work under the supervision of the City Mayor and holds office at the Integrated Gender and Development Division. The IGDD staff on the other hand, provides for the para-legal support.

Read more >> BACKGROUND OF THE ANTI-VAWC PROGRAM IN DAVAO CITY