CHR recognizes role of women in addressing pandemic, defending human rights
Screenshot of the participants of the Purple Action Webinar, one of the kick-off events for the 2021 National Women’s Month spearheaded by the Commission on Human Rights, in partnership with Sarilaya and Gabriela.
Commission on Human Rights

CHR recognizes role of women in addressing pandemic, defending human rights

(Philstar.com) - March 3, 2021 - 12:22pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights dedicated this year's commemoration of National Women's Month to all women who continue to stand at the frontlines in addressing the current Covid-19 pandemic and in the face of rampant human rights violations.

In a statement issued Wednesday, the CHR stressed how the pandemic has worsened the struggles of women, especially those confronted with inequality, exclusion and other forms of human rights violations.

The CHR, which serves as the country's gender and development ombud, the commission highlighted how community women leaders on the ground and in the community addressed issues during the pandemic.

"Women and girls have shown courage and leadership in responding to the [health] crisis in various fields," said Commissioner Karen Gomez Dumpit, who serves as CHR's Focal Commissioner for Gender and Women's Rights.

"In the Philippines, women human rights defenders address, not only the challenges brought about by this crisis but also continue to call for accountability; resisting impunity and misogyny, and continue the fight against systemic barriers to gender equality."

At a webinar, the commission sought to bring to the fore the pressing and urgent issues of women, including what it said was:

  • the controversial Anti-Terror Law, whose oral arguments before the Supreme Court continue
  • the constricting civil society space experienced by women
  • the rampant red-tagging among community women
  • the resistance against rising misogyny
  • national debt

"As we celebrate Women's Month, the Commission calls for gender justice in the government’s COVID-19 recovery plan, including vaccine rollouts. We remind the government to ensure that measures are adopted to ensure that women and girls and sectors facing multiple vulnerabilities are prioritized."

Filipino women in the time of COVID-19

Gomez-Dumpit also recognized the courage of women leaders during the opening of Women's Month, including Vice President Leni Robredo, and Sens. Risa Hontiveros and Leila de Lima, along with the many women leaders at the grassroots doing work for human rights, "especially for the vulnerable, disadvantaged, and marginalized."

The commissioner singled out De Lima, herself a former CHR Chairperson and a vocal critic of the government, whom the gender ombud said "remains to be deprived of her right to fully participate in Senate proceedings as an elected official of the country."

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, women including celebrities Liza Soberano and Catriona Gray experienced being red-tagged by Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., commander of the military's Southern Luzon Command and spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.

The Philippine Commission on Women has also sounded the alarm on the rising incidences of domestic violence during the pandemic. As it stands, it said earlier, three out of 20 women and girls aged 15 to 49 have experienced physical violence.

The surge in teen pregnancies is another problem faced by women. Under the coronavirus-induced community quarantines, the Commission on Population and Development reported that births among girls aged 14 years and below jumped by 7% in 2019 against the previous year’s figure provided by the Philippine Statistics Authority.

"We join the call for food security and economic justice, as many urban poor and rural women continue to face hunger and unemployment," Commissioner Gomez-Dumpit added.

"We continue the call for enhanced access to justice and the elimination of all forms violence against women. We call out all forms of red-tagging, silencing of women’s organizations and women leaders, and other acts that limit the women's political participation."

— Franco Luna 

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