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A Brief History of the Womens Movement in the Philippines and How it Paved the Way for the Inception

of the Women and Children Protection Desk To explain in depth, how the Women and Children Protection Desk (WCPD) has started, it may be important to tackle a brief history of the Womens Movement in the Philippines because this movement helped the Gender and Development (GAD) framework enter the government therefore affecting all its agencies including the Philippine National Police (PNP) where the WCPD is under. The Womens Movement in the Philippines can be dated back to the first feminist movement, which was the suffrage movement in the 1920s that helped legalize the right to vote for women here in the Philippines in the year 1937 (Salud, 2009). Since the right to vote was established, the womens movement in the Philippines experienced a gradual but nonetheless positive progression. Another noteworthy accomplishment was the creation of the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW), presently called the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), in 1975 thru the Presidential Decree 633 and under the regime of President Marcos. It can be said that the Philippines response to the needs of women is as old as the UN Decade of Women (Tapales, 2003). The NCRFW, which was then under the management of Imelda Marcos, conducted programs that followed the UNs Global Program of Action. It must also be mentioned that the Commission used a WID/WAD framework during those times (NCRFW:2000 as cited by Tapales, 2003). But one of the most historical and important achievements of the Womens Movement not just in the Philippines but around the world was the United Nations Convention on the Elimination

of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) that was adopted in 1979 (Salud,2009) and came into force in 1981 (Castro, Galace, 2010). It is known as the international bill of rights for women (Salud, 2009). The Philippines was one of the 177 countries that ratified this convention and by doing so the Philippines has committed itself to fighting discrimination against women in all forms, including the incorporation of the principle of equality of men and women in their legal system, abolish all discriminatory laws and adopt appropriate ones prohibiting discrimination against women (NEDA, NCRFW:2005). But it was after the martial rule in 1986 that the womens rights advocacy flourished (WWTSVAW, 2009). The Philippines current and working constitution which was made in 1987 is one of a few constitutions with gender equality provision. Section 14 of Article II states that it recognizes the role of women in nation-building, and shall ensure the fundamental equality before the law of women and men. (NEDA, NCRFW:2005). From this many more laws and policies for the recognition and protection of women emerged. One of the most important laws in the Philippines and the first regarding women was the RA 7192 or the Women Development and Nation-Building Act which was enforced in 1991. Thru this law, GAD was introduced into the mainstream of Philippine Government (PNP-PRO7, 2011). It must be remembered that because of this law, a lot of opportunities and attention were given to women in every aspect of the government. Along with the establishment of the Philippine National Police in the same year thru RA 6975, RA 7192 helped in the inclusion of women in the Police department (Tapales, 2003). In the year 1992, the National Police Commission issued the Memorandum

Circular 92-010 that established the Child and Youth Relations Section (CYRS). The PNP worked with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and NGOs for the training of PNP personnel on child protection (PNP-PRO7, 2011). During President Fidel Ramos term, the NCRFW doubled its efforts to sustain strategies using the GAD framework (Tapales, 2003). In 1993, President Ramos issued a Presidential Memorandum for the creation of the Womens Desk in March of that year. The PNP entered into a partnership with the NCRFW and other women advocates such as Gabriela toward the establishment of a Womens Desk project (PNP-PRO7, 2011). During this year, the first Womens desk was created in Quezon City Police Station thru then Vice-Mayor Charito Planas. The Policewomen who were supervising those desks were able to obtain more complaints from women and children because the complainants were more cooperative with the policewomen. Because of this more cases of rape and domestic violence were filed (Tapales, 2003). During 1994 to 1996 Womens Desk and CYRS were each established and replicated in the different police stations nationwide. The PNP Directorate for Police Community Relations (PNPDPCR), DSWD, NCRFW and other NGOs conducted a series of training on gender sensitivity, violence against women, child abuse and such other issues concerning women and children. In 1997 the PNP issued the Memorandum Circular 97-001 for the Activation of the Women and Children Concerns Division (WCCD) under the DPCR. During this year the Womens Desk and the CYRS were merged into one unit called the Women and Childrens Desk. This was done to strengthen the PNPs response to violence against women and children. And finally in 1998 RA 8551, also known as the

PNP Reform and Reorganization Act, was enacted and section 57 of this law paved the way for the institutionalization of the Women and Childrens Desk. During 1999 to 2000 several PNP Administrative issuances on Women and Children were adopted, a series of trainings and other skills enhancement program were also developed and conducted for WCD officers. The PNP also became a member of different task forces on child protection. In the year 2001, The PNP Womens Crisis and Child Protection Center, based in Camp Crame, was established. The DPCR also conducted training courses for WCPD officers on interview skills and other intervention for VAWC victims. Then the WCD was renamed Women and Children Protection Desk. Lastly the DPCR entered into Memorandums of Agreement and established ties with various NGOs on women and children (PNP-PRO7, 2011).

Sources: Tapales, P. D. (2003). Gender Policies and Responses Towards Greater Women Empowerment in the Philippines. In Public Administration and Globalization:

Enhancing Public-Private Collaboration in Public Service Delivery.

Narrio-Galace, L. N.-C. (2010). Peace Education A Pathway to a Culture of Peace. Quezon City: Center for Peace and Education, Miriam College . National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and National Commission on the Role of the Filipino Women (NCRFW). (2005). Harmonized GAD

Guidelines. Asian Development Bank (ADB).


SALUD, T. S. (2009). PHILIPPINE MAGNA CARTA OF WOMEN:THE BILL OF

RIGHTS OF FILIPINO WOMEN. Women and Children Protection Desk at PRO7. (2011). Retrieved January 3,
2013, from Official Website of the Philippine National Police Police Regional Office 7: http://pnp-pro7.org/wcpdpro7.html Women Working Together to Stop Violence against Women. (2009). BREAKING

THE SILENCE,SEEKING JUSTICE IN INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE IN THE PHILIPPINES A Review on the Implementation of Republic Act 9262.