BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance providing guidelines in the establishment of Violence Against Women and their Children (VAWC) desks in the city’s 128 barangays in the city.
The ordinance authored by all local legislators stated that the Punong Barangay shall designate an area within the barangay hall for the VAWC desk and that he or she shall provide for the necessary furniture and fixtures such as, but not limited to, tables, chairs, separate filing cabinets and logbooks for record-keeping of cases.
Likewise, the Punong Barangay shall ensure the confidentiality of the cases and privacy and safety of the victims and survivors.
Further, the Punong Barangay shall designate a VAWC desk person who is trained in gender-sensitive handling of cases, preferably a woman barangay kagawad or woman barangay tanod and in cases where there are no trained personnel, ensure that the person assigned shall undergo basic gender sensitivity training and orientation and anti-VAWC laws.
The ordinance stated that the VAWC desk shall respond to gender-based violence cases brought to the barangay; record the number of gender-based violence handled by the barangay and submit a quarterly report on all cases of VAWC to the field office of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and to the City Social Welfare and Development Office; keep VAWC cases records confidential and secured and ensure that only authorized personnel can access it; access victims of VAWC victims in securing protection orders and access necessary services; develop the barangay’s gender-responsive plan in addressing gender-based violence, including support services, capacity building and referral system; coordinate with and refer cases to government agencies concerned, non-government organizations, institutions and other service providers as necessary; address other forms of abuse committed against women, especially senior citizens, women with disabilities and other marginalized groups; lead advocacies on the elimination of VAWC in the community and perform other related functions as may be assigned.
The ordinance added that within six months from the issuance of the measure, all barangay officials submit a report on the establishment of barangay VAWC desks to the City Social Welfare and Development Officer who shall collate the data and copies of the collated data will be subsequently submitted to the city Mayor and furnished the City Council.
The ordinance claimed the cost of the establishment and operation of the VAWC desk shall be charged under the local government’s gender and development budget, which shall be at least 5 percent of their budgetary allocation and as such, it shall be included in the annual gender and development plans and programs of the local government pursuant to prescribed laws, rules and regulations.
Pursuant to DILG Memorandum circular 2014-80, the DILG conducts child-friendly local governance audit to institute an audit system to measure local governance performance in the delivery of services that would generate positive resource and promote the welfare of the children in the different parts of the country. The ordinance was referred to the appropriate committee of the local legislative body for study and recommendation whether or not it will be passed on second and third readings. By Dexter A. See