The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) enters a new era of leadership as its new Executive Director (ED), Atty. Kristine E. Yuzon-Chaves, assumed office on December 16, 2019.
For her first official act as PCW’s ED, Atty. Yuzon-Chaves joined PCW Chairperson Rhodora M. Bucoy, the Management Committee and Supervising Officers for the Year 2020 Work and Financial Planning held last December 16 to 18.
“As your new ED, I will endeavor for PCW to formulate policies and implement programs to carry out the mandates of PCW in seeking gender equality and women empowerment. To achieve this, we should strive to work as an effective and efficient team, recognizing that each has a unique role in this organization,” Yuzon-Chaves said in her opening message.
The new ED is a mother of two, a lawyer, a business professional, and an advocate. A native of Cagayan de Oro City, Yuzon-Chaves, or Atty. Krey as what she is fondly called, was born to business professional Clarissa E. Yuzon and lawyer, Atty. Jud A. Yuzon. Following her mother’s footsteps, Atty. Krey initially pursued a degree in Business at Xavier University and worked in a marketing company for five years. She earned her Juris Doctor diploma from the Xavier University in 2008 and was admitted to the Philippine Bar the following year.
Championing Women’s Rights
Her passion for law is weaved with her advocacy of empowering women, a drive that started when she joined outreach programs.
“When I was a new lawyer, I joined several legal aid outreach programs. That was when I realized that there are several people seeking legal guidance but without the means to secure one, majority of whom are abused women. From then on, I pledged to allocate some time for these women. This is coupled by the fact that one of the lawyers I worked for was a strong advocate of women’s rights,” ED Krey said.
Thus, from when she started as an Associate Attorney in 2009 until she became a partner at the Torrefranca-Yuzon Law, she handled pro bono cases on Violence Against Women and Children.
In the companies she worked for, she encouraged them to conduct seminars on harassment in the workplace, adopt gender sensitive policies, and adopt livelihood projects for women as part of their corporate social responsibility.
When “Sendong” hit Cagayan de Oro in 2011, ED Krey extended a hand to a group which assisted women displaced by the typhoon.
ED Krey also took an extra mile in helping female therapists who were subjected to a weekly hygiene checkup and assisted a non-stock and non-profit health and wellness group to change this policy of the LGU on the ground of undue and excessive invasion of privacy.
She also taught as an Associate Professor at the Business Administration Department of a local university while juggling various commitments as legal counsel for corporations engaged in various industries. She owns and runs Cenyu Whole Foods in Cagayan de Oro City, is also the Corporate Secretary and VP For Administration of ProBio Global Technologies and External Counsel of PHIVIDEC Industrial Authority, while also managing their family businesses in Cagayan de Oro.
Vision for PCW
ED Krey vows to strengthen Gender and Development (GAD) programs and policies; recommend amendment/s of certain laws that are gender biased or adversely affecting women; increase the visibility and accessibility of PCW; create plans and programs in line with the President’s mandate under EO No. 1 to alleviate poverty; and create and implement plans and programs that would empower women in terms of livelihood, employment, and health and safety.
ED Krey succeeds Ms. Emmeline L. Verzosa who retired from government in August 2019 after serving as PCW Deputy Executive Director in 2001 and eventually as ED in 2002.
PCW in 2020 and beyond
PCW Chairperson Dr. Rhodora M. Bucoy welcomed ED Krey, expressing high hopes that they will work together to shepherd PCW to the fruition of its vision and mission.
Bucoy laid down the directions that the commission will take for the next years, noting that the year 2020 marks its 45th founding anniversary in January which also marks its five-year journey towards its golden year in 2025. She shared her vision for the PCW to put up Regional Offices and transform it into a department; set up a PCW Training Institute to develop the capacities of agencies and local government units on GAD, as well as partnering with LGUs in Metro Manila to push for gender responsive governance. She also said that the PCW should look into the promotion social legislation that address marginalized women, enhance women’s access or control to productive assets and resources; creation of a committee with the Department of Education that will review the gender sensitivity of textbooks, strengthening of the anti-VAW campaign and engaging male advocates, and cultural projects to aid in addressing misogyny.
The PCW’s predecessor, the National Commission on Filipino Women (NCRFW), was created as a national agency under the Office of the President, through Presidential Decree No. 633 dated January 7, 1975. The said law highlighted the need for a body to review, evaluate and recommend measures, including priorities, to ensure the full integration of women for economic, social, and cultural development at national, regional and international levels and to ensure further equality between men and women, as a rationale for the creation of the Commission. The Magna Carta of Women (R.A. No. 9710) which was enacted on August 14, 2009 renamed the NCRFW to PCW.