The Central Luzon Regional Gender and Development Committee (RGADC III) facilitated a two-part webinar series in light of the celebration of the 18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women (VAW) last 10 and 15 December 2020 via video conferencing. 

RGADC III Chairperson and CHED III OIC-Regional Director Maria Teresita M. Semana spearheaded the two activities by providing heart-warming welcome messages to the members and participants. She also recognized the active participation and remarked on the growing body of Gender and Development (GAD) members in the region.

CHED III hosted the first webinar, “Reinvigorating the Minds and Hearts to End Violence Against Women” where Reverend Father Enrique Luzung served as main resource speaker. He tackled on the issues and challenges of mental health and how to detect and correctively handle such situations. The webinar allotted a ten-minute silence for the symbolic lighting of candles and prayer to end VAW.

On the other hand, NEDA III led the “Webinar on Safe Spaces Act” held last 15 December 2020. Invited resource speakers Dr. Remigio Musca of Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) GAD Resource Person of Bulacan State University and Assistant City Prosecutor J.T. Leonardo C. Santos of DOJ-NPS Region III provided lectures on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on GAD and on the provisions and clauses of the Republic Act No. 1131 or the Safe Spaces Act of 2019 (also known as Anti Bastos Law). The webinar aimed to increase awareness to protect all genders from any forms of abuse and harassment.

RDC III Vice-Chairperson and NEDA III OIC-Regional Director Agustin C. Mendoza challenged the participants to continue the advocacy everyday of every week, month, and year and not only every December. He also declared that attaining VAW-Free communities will help pave the region to a “matatag, maginhawa, at panatag na buhay para sa lahat.”

Invited participants were asked to wear orange-shade shirt/blouse or use the End-VAW template as virtual background in the conduct of webinars. The 18-Day Campaign to end VAW, as mandated by Proclamation No. 1172 series of 2016, is to be observed every November 25 to December 12 of the year. (Liezl Joyce V. Mangalindan, NEDA 3-PFPD)