Laws are powerful medium by which women can be empowered. An examination of Philippine laws on the status of women reveals that substantive gains have been achieved to recognize, protect, fulfill and promote the rights of Filipino women.
Nonetheless, in spite of the significant steps taken in the past years, discriminatory provisions still remain on the statute books. It is therefore essential to reexamine our laws and participate in the legislative process in order to pursue the interest of women.
The Republic Act 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women specifically provides that the State shall take steps to review and, when necessary, amend and/or repeal existing laws that are discriminatory to women. This is in consonance with the obligation of the Philippines as State Party to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) to repeal all discriminatory laws and practices and to enact anti-discriminatory policies and provide effective mechanism and remedies where women can seek redress for the violations of their rights.
Although the status of women is not solely determined by law, it is clear that legislation or lack of it can obstruct or accelerate the achievement of full equality of women with men.
Thus, the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) as the primary policy-making and coordinating agency on women and gender equality concerns launched the Women’s Priority Legislative Agenda (WPLA). The WPLA is a set of proposed topics of bills that seeks to amend or repeal the discriminatory provisions of existing laws and moves for the formulation and adoption of new legislations that promote women’s empowerment and gender equality.
The WPLA for the 17th Congress, composed of 12 legislative agenda, is a result of a series of consultations with various local women’s groups in three key cities in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao and a careful deliberation based on specific criteria to strategically address women and gender equality issues and concerns across the country.
It is hoped that all the legislative measures in the WPLA will be passed during this Congress through the support and collaboration of our legislators, national government agencies, civil society organizations and stakeholders.