As an agency advocating gender sensitivity and inclusivity, Philippine Fisheries Development Authority (PFDA) has organized a two-day virtual talk series about in observance of the 2021 Gender and Development (GAD) 18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women (VAW) with the theme “VAW-free community starts with Me” from November 25 to December 12, 2021.
Through its Gender and Development Focal Point System (PFDA-GFPS), the agency takes part in this annual campaign highlighting Republic Act 11313 or the Safe Spaces Act, which aims to raise awareness of the public and the institutions that are mandated to implement the law.
Dr. Excelsa C. Tongson, Deputy Director for Training and Outreach at the University of the Philippines Center for Women’s and Gender Studies (UPCWGS), was invited to be the guest speaker for day one to discuss “All is Fair in Language: A Virtual Talk on the Use of Gender-Fair Communication and Language”.
During her discussion, Dr. Tongson talked about what is sexist language, the nature of sexism and how it becomes present in language, and the kinds of sexist language. She noted that every day is an opportunity to learn more about gender-fair language and be better at communicating with your peers. She also emphasized that language is a language of possibilities regardless of gender.
Dr. Tongson also presented the need for gender-fair language and how to become an ally of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE). She said that webinars like this are an opportunity to start the discussion about gender and development. “Let us not only become gender-sensitive, but gender-transformative… Ako ay Pilipino at ako ay marespeto. Let us stop VAW,” Dr. Tongson exclaimed.
Meanwhile, Ms. Jemelle F. Zamora-Milanes, Gender Consultant and member of the National GAD Resource Pool of the Philippine Commission on Women, served as the resource speaker on day two about “Creating Safe Spaces: A Virtual Talk on Ensuring Women’s Safety in the Physical and Digital Workplace”.
Ms. Milanes talked about the salient features of the Safe Spaces Act (Bawal Bastos Law). She defined safe space as a formal and informal place where a person feels comfortable, physically and emotionally safe, and enjoys the freedom of self-expression without the fear of judgment or harm.
In addition, Ms. Milanes discussed the different kinds of Gender-Based Sexual Harassments (GBSH), qualified acts under GBSH, and penalties for the perpetrators. “If it’s unwanted, it’s harassment. I encourage everyone to report in case you experience some form of harassment in public places, online, workplace, and educational and training institutions. Meron pong poprotekta sa atin na batas kaya huwag po tayong matakot. Let's try to create a safe space for everyone,” Ms. Milanes said.
PFDA GAD Focal Point System TWG Head Mr. Mc Christian Julius A. Macaranas II welcomed everyone who attended and participated in the two-day virtual. Mr. Macaranas is hoping that this passion project of PFDA will become a basic program for all so that everyone, including port clients, stakeholders, and consumers, can understand and embrace the advocacy of gender and development in the workplace and their own homes.
To watch the replay of the webinars and part of this annual activity, make sure to like and follow the PFDA GAD Focal Point System Facebook Page and PFDA Official Facebook Page and use the hashtags #VAWfreecommunitystartswithme and #PFDAGAD.
Ms. Mary Anne Kristine R. Ramos of PFDA ASD-HRD and Mr. Miguel M. Pilarta of PFDA PID served as the moderators of the webinar series.
(Mark Angelo N. Perez- Public Information Division)