OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER ON THE PEACE PROCESS WOMEN’S MONTH LAWS PERTAINING TO WOMEN

In celebration of women’s month, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) will compile laws that are aimed to empower women. The compilation would include international covenants passed by the international community and national laws passed by congress. International Law (note that most of these laws were passed by the United Nations General Assembly): Women are a major subject in international law. It is only fitting that their rights are enshrined in the International Bill of Human Rights; which is composed of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. In the 1948 the United Nations passed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Since it is universal it applies to all gender, race and religion. The principles contained within this treaty would be used in future accords pertaining to women and their rights. As a concrete example that women are a major component in the treaty, they are highlighted in the UDHR Preamble and it said that: “…Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom…” There is also a specific article that is related to women and their rights (specifically regarding marriage). Article 16 stated that: 1. “Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution. 2. Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses. 3. The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.” The next is the Convention on the Political Rights of Women (1952). The treaty is related to the UDHR particularly on Article 21 which states that: 1. “Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives. 2. Everyone has the right to equal access to public service in his country. 3. The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.”

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OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER ON THE PEACE PROCESS In summary, the covenant of 1952 is aimed to protect the equal status of women to exercise their political rights. In relation to the latter covenant a landmark resolution was passed in 1966 named as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). This is aimed again to strengthen women’s political rights and also to include equal civil rights as well. These civil rights include the right to life, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, electoral rights, the right to due process and a fair trial. On Article 3 it stated that: “The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to ensure the equal right of men and women to the enjoyment of all civil and political rights set forth in the present Covenant.” Also on Article 6 regarding the right to life sub-section number five (5), it is stated that: “Sentence of death shall not be imposed for crimes committed by persons below eighteen years of age and shall not be carried out on pregnant women.” Another on Article 23 regarding family and marriage in subsection two (2), it is stated that: “The right of men and women of marriageable age to marry and to found a family shall be recognized.” That same year, the international community passed the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR). The treaty gave women equality in terms of labor rights, the right to education and the right to an adequate standard of living. The following year (1967) the Declaration on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women was created. Although it was not binding it was an important precursor to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination (CEDAW) against Women on 1979. On 1974 the Declaration on the Protection of Women and Children in Emergency and Armed Conflict was created, however it is also non-binding. Then on 1993 the UNGA passed the Declaration of Violence against Women, again it is a precursor to the Inter-American Convention for the Prevention, Punishment and Elimination of Violence against Women passed on 1995. The treaties recalls past convention, specifically the UDHR and CEDAW. In addition it also called for the need to strengthen women’s rights regarding equality, security, liberty, integrity and dignity. It is clearly stated in Article 1 of the Convention as part of its Scope and Application that: “For the purposes of this Convention, violence against women shall be understood as any act or conduct, based on gender, which causes death or physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, whether in the public or the private sphere.”

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OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER ON THE PEACE PROCESS In Article 2 it is also stated that: “Violence against women shall be understood to include physical, sexual and psychological violence: a) that occurs within the family or domestic unit or within any other interpersonal relationship, whether or not the perpetrator shares or has shared the same residence with the woman, including, among others, rape, battery and sexual abuse; b) that occurs in the community and is perpetrated by any person, including, among others, rape, sexual abuse, torture, trafficking in persons, forced prostitution, kidnapping and sexual harassment in the workplace, as well as in educational institutions, health facilities or any other place; and c) that is perpetrated or condoned by the state or its agents regardless of where it occurs.”

In 1997 the Universal Declaration on Democracy was passed. It also recalled past conventions such as the UDHR and CEDAW. It has specific article concerning women, but is mainly for gender equality. It is state in the First Part regarding the Principles of Democracy, sub-clause number four (4) that: “4. The achievement of democracy presupposes a genuine partnership between men and women in the conduct of the affairs of society in which they work in equality and complementarity, drawing mutual enrichment from their differences.” Lastly in 1999 the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women was passed. The main principles behind the protocol can be seen in the preamble. It is stated that: “The preamble is the introductory part of the Protocol which sets out the object and purpose of the Protocol. It refers to the principles of equality and non-discrimination as embodied in the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and other international human rights instruments, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. It reaffirms the determination of States parties which adopt the protocol to ensure the full and equal enjoyment by women of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and to take effective action to prevent violations of these rights and freedoms.”

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OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER ON THE PEACE PROCESS

National Laws The Philippines is originally a matriarchal society, with women holding important positions in the society. This social organization was drastically changed when the Spaniards colonized the islands turned it into a patriarchal one (woman still played a vital role during the revolution, although in secrecy). Three (3) centuries later, this patriarchal society was continued by the American colonizers. However, during the years between the late 19th century and the 20th century, particularly the women’s suffrage movement, organizations such Asociacion Feminista Filipino (1905) and the Asociacion Filipina Illongga (1906) demanded equal political rights for women. Although controversial at that time, the suffragist movement won in the referendum that gave equal political rights in the Philippine Assembly in May 1937. This landmark referendum for women was overshadowed by WWII years later. With the liberation of the Philippines and eventual independence in 1945, women are still however were structurally oppressed in a still male-dominated society. This all changed in the 1987 Constitution, it was crafted in a way to include gender sensititvity and human rights (mainly coming from the UDHR) in its articles and provisions. In Section 14 under State Policies it is stated that: The State recognizes the role of women in nation-building, and shall ensure the fundamental equality before the law of women and men. In Article XIII: Social Justice and Human Rights there are two (2) sections are enshrined for women: Section 11. “The State shall adopt an integrated and comprehensive approach to health development which shall endeavor to make essential goods, health and other social services available to all the people at affordable cost. There shall be priority for the needs of the underprivileged, sick, elderly, disabled, women, and children. The State shall endeavor to provide free medical care to paupers.” Section 14. “The State shall protect working women by providing safe and healthful working conditions, taking into account their maternal functions, and such facilities and opportunities that will enhance their welfare and enable them to realize their full potential in the service of the nation.” Subsequently, there had been other related laws passed by congress for the rights of women. Below is a list of laws from 1989 to 2004. RA 6725 (April 27, 1989) An Act Strengthening the Prohibition on Discrimination Against Women with Respect to Terms
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OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER ON THE PEACE PROCESS

and Conditions of Employment, Amending for the Purpose Article One Hundred Thirty-Five of the Labor Code, As Amended

RA 6972 (November 23, 1990) An Act Establishing a Day Care Center in Every Barangay Instituting Therein a Total Development and Protection of Children Program, Appropriating Funds Therefor, and for Other Purposes

RA 7192 (December 11, 1991) An Act Promoting the Integration of Women as Full and Equal Partners of Men in Development and Nation Building and for Other Purposes

RA 7322 (March 30, 1992) An Act Increasing Maternity Benefits in Favor of Women Workers in the Private Sector, Amending for the Purpose Section 14-A of Republic Act No. 1161, as Amended and for Other Purposes

RA 7600 (June 17, 1992) An Act Requiring All Government and Private Health Institutions with Obstetrical Services to Adopt Rooming-in and Breastfeeding Practices and for Other Purposes

RA 7688 (March 3, 1994) An Act Giving Representation to Women in Social Security Commission Amending for the Purpose Section 3(A) of Republic Act 1161, as Amended

RA 7822 (February 20, 1995) An Act Providing Assistance to Women Engaging in Micro and Cottage Business Enterprises, and for Other Purposes

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OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER ON THE PEACE PROCESS

RA 8353 (September 30, 1997) – this includes marital rape An Act Expanding the Definition of the Crime of Rape, Reclassifying the Same as a Crime Against Persons, Amending for the Purpose Act No. 3815, as Amended, Otherwise Known as the Revised Penal Code, and for Other Purposes

RA 8369 (October 28, 1997) An Act Establishing Family Courts, granting Them Exclusive Original Jurisdiction Over Child and Family Cases, Amending Batas Pambansa No. 192, as Amended, Otherwise Known as the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980, Appropriating Funds Therefor and for Other Purposes

RA 9262 (March 8, 2004) An Act Defining Violence Against Women and Their Children, Providing Protective Measures for Victims, Prescribing Penalties Therefor and for Other Purposes

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OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER ON THE PEACE PROCESS

References
Arellano Law Foundation. (2013). Philippine Statutes - Republic Acts. Retrieved March 3, 2013, from The LawPhil Project: http://www.lawphil.net/statutes/repacts/repacts.html Camacho-Tajonera, J. (2010, March 26). Women’s Rights in the Philippines: A List of Laws Protecting Women and Mothers. Retrieved March 3, 2013, from Smart Parenting: http://www.smartparenting.com.ph/mom-dad/taking-care-of-mom/womens-rights-in-thephilippines-a-list-of-laws-protecting-women-and-mothers Casambre, A. L., & Rood, S. (2012, March 7). Early Feminism in the Philippines. Retrieved March 3, 2013, from The Asia Foundation: http://asiafoundation.org/in-asia/2012/03/07/early-feminism-in-thephilippines/ Quindoza-Santiago, L. (1996). Review of Women's Studies. Roots of Feminist Thought in the Philippines, 160-172. Republic of the Philippines. (1986). 1987 Constitution. Manila: Republic of the Philippines. United Nations General Assembly. (1948). Universal Declaration of Human Rights . New York: United Nations. United Nations General Assembly. (1952). Convention on the Political Rights of Women . New York: United Nations. United Nations General Assembly. (1966). International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights . New York: United Nations. United Nations General Assembly. (1966). International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights . New York: United Nations. United Nations General Assembly. (1967). Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. New York: United Nations. United Nations General Assembly. (1974). Declaration on the Protection of Women and Children in Emergency and Armed Conflict . New York: United Nations. United Nations General Assembly. (1979). Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. New York: United Nations. United Nations General Assembly. (1993). Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women. New York: United Nations. United Nations General Assembly. (1995). Inter-American Convention for the Prevention, Punishment and Elimination of Violence against Women . New York: United Nations.

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OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER ON THE PEACE PROCESS United Nations General Assembly. (1997). Universal Declaration on Democracy. New York: United Nations. United Nations General Assembly. (1999). Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women . New York: United Nations.

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