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In honoring the significant role of women, CFO Undersecretary Astravel Pimental – Naik said that  women’s innate trait as nurturers helps them become effective counselors.

 

Led by Undesecretary Astravel Pimentel-Naik, the men and women of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas have once again shown their unwavering commitment in advancing gender equality and promoting women empowerment when they unveiled their activities for this year’s National Women’s Month Celebration during the flag-raising ceremony on 5 March 2018 at the CFO Main Office in Manila.


Usec. Pimentel-Naik highlighted the role of women as innately nurturing and understanding making them as highly qualified counsellors. She further added  that these gender-based activities of CFO in observance of the celebration of the National Women’s Month, clearly shows the government’s pledge to alleviate the social costs of gender disparity brought by migration, and protect and promote the rights, welfare and interests of overseas Filipinos in every possible way.  

As part of the observance of the International Women’s Day, the National Women’s Month celebration every March stems from the following legal bases; (a) Proclamation No. 224 s. 1988, declaring the first week of March each year as Women’s Week and March 8 as Women’s Rights and International Peace Day; (b) Proclamation No. 227 s. 1988 which provides for the observance of the Month of March as Women’s Role in History Month; and (c) Republic Act (RA) 6949 s. 1990 declaring March 8 of every year as National Women’s Day.

 

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The theme “We Make Change Work for Women” highlights the empowerment of women as active contributors to and claimholders of development. It is also anchored on the commitment of President Rodrigo Duterte’s development thrusts on Malasakit, Pagbabago, and Patuloy na Pag-unlad as enshrined in the 2017-2022 Philippine Development Plan, Ambisyon Natin 2040. The theme was developed in 2017 by the Philippine Commission on Women and will be used until 2022.  

 

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CFO personnel sing an all-women cast Lupang Hinirang video of the Philippine Commission on Women to launch
the celebration of March as National Women’s Month at this flag raising ceremony on 5 March 2018

 

 In line with this, the CFO will hold several activities that are geared towards accelerating gender parity throughout March.

A series of information campaigns in different provinces, cities and towns in the countryside are scheduled. The Community Education Program (CEP) aims to increase public awareness regarding migration issues, such as illegal recruitment, documentation fraud, and trafficking among prospective migrants.

Aside from its regular country-specific Guidance and Counseling Program, CFO will also conduct a series of marriage migration seminars and capacity development trainings for local government officers, local civil registrars, and other stakeholders in different areas. Cases of gender-based violence such as domestic violence, mail order spouse, prostitution, and human trafficking among marriage migrants are expected to be discussed.

The following is the schedule of activities for CEP and seminar on marriage migration:

 

 REGION  PROVINCE SCHEDULE 
 04-A 1. Laguna

  • Sta. Cruz
  • Calamba

2. Cavite

  • Imus
  • Bacoor
  Feb. 19-23
04-A & B 3. Batangas

  • Batangas
  • Lipa

4. Mindoro

  • Calapan
  • Puerto Galera
Feb. 26 – Mar. 2
 CAR 5. Benguet

  • Baguio City
  • La Trinidad

6. Mt. Province

  • Sagada
  • Bontoc
 Mar. 23-28
 03 7. Zambales

  • Iba
  • Olongapo

8. Pampanga

  • San Fernando
  • Angeles
 Mar. 12-16
ARMM 9. Tawi-Tawi

  • Bongao
  • Taganak Island
April 23-27
ARMM 10. Maguindanao

  • Shariff Aguak
  • Cotabato City
 May 7-11
08 11. Southern Leyte

  • Maasin City
  • Sogod

12. Northern Leyte

  • Ormoc City
  • Baybay
 July 2-6
09 13. Zamboanga Peninsula

  • Zamboanga City

14. Zamboanga del Sur

  • Pagadian
  • Tukuran
July 9-13
11 15. Compostela Valley

  • Nabuturan
  • Monkayo

16. Davao Oriental

  • Mati
  • Lupon
July 23-27
Seminar on Filipinos in Intermarriage
13 Butuan, Agusan del Norte March 19-20
CAR Baguio, Benguet Mar. 30-31

 

The CFO also joins the Bureau of Immigration, together with partner agencies and civil society organizations, in the program entitled “The Information Caravan on Anti-Trafficking in Persons (ATIP) PLUS Project 2018” or #WeToo Campaign (Women Empowerment to address Trafficking of women Overseas). It is an awareness campaign to help address and prevent the increasing number of victims of human trafficking in the country especially women, which will be launched on 26 March 2018 in Malacanang.  

An Online GAD Corner will also be rolled-out soon in the CFO website. This corner will serve as a portal for accessing and sharing information on mainstreaming gender and development efforts by the Commission. 

In support of the Serbisyo Para Kay Juana campaign that enjoins agencies to distribute information, education, and campaign (IEC) materials on March 8, the CFO is also distributing the following GAD oriented publications, available free of charge all year round:

a. The Faces of OF-ReD

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 This is a special publication by the CFO, in partnership with the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte, Cooperative Bank of Ilocos Norte, United Nations Development Programme and the Western Union Foundation.

The photo-book documents the inspiring, sometimes heart-breaking success stories of 20 beneficiaries of the Overseas Filipinos Remittances for Development (OF-ReD): Building a Future Back Home Project. The beneficiaries are mostly returning Ilocano women migrants and some are dependents of overseas Ilocano migrants

 b. Primer on Anti-Mail Spouse Act of 2016.

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This primer features Republic Act 10906, an Act that provides stronger measures against unlawful practices, businesses, and schemes of matching and offering Filipinos to foreign nationals for purposes of marriage or common law partnerships. It became a law on 21 July 2016.

The Act repeals Republic Act 6955 or the Anti-Mail Order Bride Act. The salient features of the new law are the inclusion of Filipino men against acts of matching for purposes of marriage or common law partnerships to foreign nationals; matching through the use of internet; confiscation and forfeiture of proceeds and instruments derived from committing he prohibited acts in favor of the government; provision on the formulation of an implementing rules and regulations; and imposing stiffer penalties on its violation.

c. Primer on Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Trafficking Posters and Stickers

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This primer provides concise information about Republic Act 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 as amended by Republic Act 10364. It serves as a handy reference on the salient provisions of the Act and the available programs and services for trafficked victims.

As supplementary to the primer, CFO regularly updates its trafficking posters and stickers. These IEC materials reinforce the anti-trafficking advocacies of CFO.

Interested parties may wish to contact Mr. Michael A. Apattad of the Policy, Planning and Research Division of CFO at telephone number 552-4762 and email address mapattad@cfo.gov.ph for pick-up details. These materials will also be sent to the three regional Women Inspiring Women Series that will commence on 8 March 2018.