The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) urged government agencies to use their gender and development (GAD) budget to promote gender-responsive governance and finance programs, projects, and activities on gender equality and women’s empowerment.
Speaking before 376 participants of the 7th National GAD Budget Forum held in Pasay City on September 6, 2019, PCW OIC-Executive Director Cecile B. Gutierrez noted the important role of the members of the GAD Focal Point System (GFPS) in steering the direction of their agencies’ GAD Programs to respond to gender issues within their respective sectors and scope of agency mandates.
“I challenge each agency to ‘walk our talk’ – we are duty-bound to implement these programs and show our commitment through budgetary allocations, making each centavo count towards gender-responsive governance,” Gutierrez said.
The National GAD Budget Forum is held annually to clarify issues and concerns encountered by agencies in the preparation and implementation of their annual GAD Plan and Budget (GPB). This year’s forum is attended by representatives from 190 national government agencies (NGAs), state universities and colleges (SUCs), government hospitals, and government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs).
Compliance of the government agencies to the GAD budget policy
The PCW monitors the implementation of the GAD budget policy. The report entitled Trends and Updates on the Submission, Review, and Endorsement of FY 2018-2019 GAD Plans and Budgets, and Acceptance of FY 2017-2018 GAD Accomplishment Reports released in July 2019 shows that compliance to the policy is improving but there are still gaps to be addressed.
Among the remaining challenges cited are: (1) difficulty of agencies in identifying gender issues and GAD mandates aligned with the agency mandates; (2) difficulty in articulating gender issues, GAD Objectives/Activities/Performance Indicators/Targets; (3) inability to reflect sex-disaggregated data about client groups and beneficiaries; and (4) inability to meet at least 5% of the total agency budget for GAD budget allocation and utilization.
Development of GAD agenda and annual GAD plan and budget
The Guidelines for the Preparation of the Annual GAD Plans and Budgets and Accomplishment Reports to Implement the Magna Carta of Women (PCW-NEDA-DBM Joint Circular 2012-01) called for the development of a GAD Agenda which shall serve as a guide for the formulation of agency plans, activities, and projects to be included in the annual GPB.
To further guide the agencies in the formulation, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of the multi-year GAD Agenda, PCW issued the Revised Guidelines for the Preparation of the GAD Agenda (PCW MC 2018-04).
During the forum, PCW-Technical Services and Regional Coordination Division Chief Nharleen Santos-Millar stressed that the GAD Agenda contains the GAD Strategic Framework which outlines the agency’s GAD Vision, Mission, and Goals; and the GAD Strategic Plan which defines the strategic interventions, indicators, and targets to be pursued to achieve GAD goals.
Santos-Millar discussed the seven steps for the agencies to follow in formulating their GAD Agenda: (1) organizing of the planning team; (2) conduct of gender analysis; (3) setting the agency’s GAD Vision and Mission; (4) formulating the GAD goals; (5) prioritization of gender issues per GAD Goal; (6) outlining the GD outcomes, indicators, baseline data, and targets per goal; and (7) translating the GAD outcomes into the GAD PAPs.
Meanwhile, PCW-Policy Development, Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation Division Chief Anette Baleda provided a walk-through on the preparation of the 2020 GAD Plan and Budget as contained in the call for the Preparation and Online Submission of Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 GAD Plans and Budgets (PCW MC 2019-02).
Going beyond compliance to the 5% GAD budget allocation
The Magna Carta of Women (RA 9710) mandates all government offices to use at least 5% of their annual budget for programs, projects, and activities that address GAD issues within their respective sectors and mandates.
Aside from the proper utilization of their GAD budget, the PCW also hopes that the agencies would go beyond mere compliance to the 5%, noting that the goal of the GAD budget policy is to make all government programs gender-responsive.
Director James Arsenio O. Ponce of the Department of Agrarian Reform shared a practical guide on how agencies can attribute their major programs to GAD by using the Harmonized GAD Guidelines in GAD Planning and Budgeting. Ponce is a member PCW’s National GAD Resource Pool.
Venue to clarify agency-specific concerns
The forum also provided a venue for the agencies to discuss with the PCW GAD Specialists the specific concerns that they encounter, through the consultation desks that was set up at the venue.
Aside from individual consultation, the participants were also given the opportunity to ask the resource speakers in a plenary open forum.
Maria Theresa Legion of the Philippine Reclamation Authority extended her gratitude to the PCW for shedding light to the issues and concerns of the agencies regarding the preparation of their GAD plans and budgets. She noted that the speakers are knowledgeable of the topics that they presented which made the activity productive.
Lourdes Sales of the National Privacy Commission shared Legion’s feedback about the activity, noting that the topics were well explained by the speakers.
The 7th National GAD Budget Forum is co-presented by the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), which hosted the venue for the activity.
Regional GAD Budget Fora are also organized by the PCW in partnership with the Regional GAD Councils. #