PopCom wants special protection for women amid pandemic
MANILA, Philippines —With more than one-fourth of the population expressing concern about the reported domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Commission on Population and Development (PopCom) has stressed the importance of ensuring women’s safety.
In its report after the celebration of International Women’s Day last March 8, PopCom cited a previous Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey which found that 25 percent of Filipinos pointed to harmful acts as the most urgent problems facing women amid the health crisis.
The SWS survey, released last February 2021, showed that 11 percent of the 1,500 adults interviewed said that physical violence is the top problem of women, with seven percent each citing sexual and emotional violence.
“As the entire world celebrates Women’s Month this March, the Commission on Population and Development renews its call for special protection of Filipino women, especially in the time of a raging pandemic,” PopCom said.
“Recently, POPCOM disclosed the results of a recent Social Weather Stations survey, which revealed that 1 out of 4, or 25%, of Filipino adults across the Philippines, cited harmful acts in various forms as among the most pressing problems of women during the present health crisis,” it added.
Although early adolescent pregnancy remained the top issue according to respondents’ perceptions, the glaring numbers illustrated concerns and claims that domestic violence and other types of violence against women would increase with people spending more time at home.
After the COVID-19 pandemic forced the authorities to place Luzon and many other areas under strict lockdown, officials and women’s right-wing advocates warned that an increase in abuses could occur, especially with the government focused on disease control, thus not being able to respond to several complaints.
In a June 2020 report from President Rodrigo Duterte, it was revealed that over 3,600 cases of violence against women and children were tallied by law enforcement agencies.
PopCom head and Health Undersecretary Juan Antonio Perez III said that while the Philippines has been cited for supporting causes for women’s rights — like its 16th ranking at the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index — such achievements are underscored by a myriad of issues faced by women.
Perez assured the public that PopCom would continue working to protect women’s rights.
“As an agency being looked upon by the national government in promoting women’s rights, PopCom will do its best to guarantee their protection, empowerment, and provision of opportunities needed to achieve their utmost in life,” he said.
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