AS the nation observes the 18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women (VAW) from 25 November to 12 December, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) called on government agencies to intensify efforts to protect women in the public sector against gender-based violence.
CSC Chairperson Karlo Nograles said measures must be taken to foster a safe environment for women to speak up about their experiences of violence and to encourage help-seeking behavior.
He said, “Data from the United Nations shows that less than 40 percent, or only 30 plus percent, of women who experience violence seek help of any sort. Among these women, most seek help from family and even friends; very few seek help from formal institutions, such as the police and health services, because of the stigma associated with it.”
He called on heads of agencies, supported by their respective human resource management officers, to strengthen the agency’s Committee on Decorum and Investigation (CODI). “Ang head of agency, at ang CODI, ang may pangunahing responsibilidad na maiwasan at matugunan ang sexual harassment sa sektor ng pamahalaan.”
Nograles was referring to CSC Resolution No. 2100064 dated 20 January 2021, which amends certain provisions in the 2017 Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service (2017 RACCS), specifically those pertaining to the administrative proceedings for sexual harassment complaints where the offender is a government employee.
Under said resolution, among the duties of the CODI is to ensure that the complainant does not suffer from retaliation or any disadvantage in terms of benefits or security of tenure, as well as to guarantee the observance of due process, gender-sensitive handling of the cases, and confidentiality of the identity of the parties involved.
Moreover, the policy specifies the duties of the head of agency in preventing and deterring the occurrence of sexual harassment cases, among which are to ensure widest dissemination of the law and rules to all persons in the workplace, the conduct of orientations among employees and distribution of relevant information materials, and conduct of gender sensitivity trainings.
Chairperson Nograles also urged government workers to start fostering healthy dialogues about VAW.
“Bilang lingkod bayan, ang hamon sa atin ay sikaping lubos na maintindihan itong problema ng gender-based violence. Ano ba ang ibig sabihin nito? Ano ang impact nito sa ating mga pamilya, sa trabaho, sa mga kabataan, sa komunidad? Dahil ang karahasan ay hindi lamang isyu sa pagitan ng may sala at ng bikitma; ito ay problemang panlipunan dahil lahat tayo ay apektado rito,” he said.
In his message during the CSC’s own kickoff event for the 18-Day Campaign to End VAW held on 28 November 2022 at the CSC Central Office in Quezon City, Chairperson Nograles also issued a challenge to CSC officials and employees to actively contribute in building a VAW-free community.
He said, “I call on each member of the CSC community to take an active part in the campaign to end violence against women by promoting and spreading awareness about the forms of violence, providing information on the laws that the CSC implements in support of anti-violence against women, and gaining insights through regular discussions with stakeholders on how the CSC can uphold the protection of women and children in policies and programs that we formulate for the bureaucracy.”