November 26, 2021

The United Nations has called for the passage of a law to protect women in the face of a pandemic.

On Thursday, the United Nations Philippines called for the swift passage of legislation to protect women during emergencies, such as the current coronavirus pandemic.

“Women are affected differently by the pandemic, which we call ‘gender-differentiated needs.’ SB (Senate Bill) 2088 and HB (House Bill) 9059 must be signed into law in order to reduce violence against women. “We implore our legislators to swiftly enact it into law,” Charisse Jordan, UN Women’s national project officer for Safe and Fair Philippines, said.

Jordan made the statement on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which is observed every year on March 8th.

Jordan said in the Babaeng BiyaHero forum at ang Batas that, aside from dealing with the effects of a global health crisis, women around the world continue to face various forms of abuse.

“Many people are still at risk because they don’t have access to a voice or a resource to help them. “We need to start paying attention to this shadow pandemic,” she said.

“Women deserve to be heard and have access to coordinated and high-quality essential services in every aspect of their lives, from legal assistance when they are victims of gender-based violence to health services, including sexual and reproductive health services, as well as livelihood and economic opportunities,” she added.

The Gender Responsive and Inclusive Pandemic Management Act of 2021, also known as Senate Bill 2088 and House Bill 9059, aims to develop programs and protocols that address the gender-differentiated needs of women, particularly those from marginalized groups, during pandemics, emergencies, and disasters.

Once enacted into law, government agencies will have sufficient statutory authority to monitor and collect data on the experiences of women during a crisis, as well as to develop policies and protocols based on that data.

It would also ensure that systems are in place to provide social and legal protection to women and girls who are victims of gender-based violence, as well as shelter and resources when they are needed.

“As the government develops rehabilitation programs to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, it is critical that women’s rights, both here and abroad, be at the forefront of planning, decision-making, and implementation,” Jordan said.

Safe and Fair Philippines has also called on government officials, stakeholders, communities, and migrant workers to promote a “more equitable, safe, fair, and better normal” for every Filipina by ensuring that they have the knowledge and capability to access effective and timely services through its Babaeng BiyaHero campaign.

“By working together, Safe and Fair Philippines hopes to ensure a new and better normal based on decent work, gender equality, freedom from violence, and safe and fair labor migration for all Filipino women workers,” the organization stated.

The Safe and Fair program is a joint initiative of the United Nations and the European Union to ensure that labor migration in Southeast Asia is safe and fair for all women.

The project in the Philippines focuses on female overseas Filipino workers, both on land and at sea, and is carried out at both the national and local levels.

The Babaeng BiyaHero website, which provides essential information and services to women in times of distress or emergency, whether in their host countries or in the Philippines, is one of its inclusions.

They also run the Babaeng BiyaHero Helpline, which provides distressed and abused women migrant workers with psychosocial support, counseling, and violence against women case management.

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