Senator Lito Lapid has filed a Senate Bill No. 1078 which proposes to increase the number of minimum leaves afforded to victims of domestic violence.
The additional paid leaves will be needed for those who will be going through legal proceedings and may need to go to court once a month.
The same can be said for counseling and therapy that needs to be regular in order to be effective.
Add to this the similar needs and frequency of appointments for the minor children of women who have also suffered domestic violence. Considering these circumstances, the minimum ten (10) days of leave afforded to victims of domestic violence would be grossly insufficient.
The Anti-Violence against Women and Children Act currently provides 10 days paid leave from work for victims of abuse to afford them an opportunity to pursue legal proceedings, relocate their residence, care for their children or attend or counseling sessions.
This is because the burden that victims of domestic violence bear does not end upon emancipating themselves from their abusive partners. Victims must overcome legal, medical, social and financial hurdles in order to be fully independent and self-sufficient.
Thus, Lapid’s proposed measure increases the number of minimum leaves afforded to victims of domestic violence to 20 days from the current 10 days.
“Walang kahit sinuman ang dapat na nakararanas nito pero nangyayari pa rin ito sa ating lipunan.”
“Ikinalulungkot ko na hanggang ngayon marami pa rin sa mga kababayan nating babae at bata ang nagiging biktima ng pang-aabuso mula sa kanilang mismong tahanan. Walang kahit sinuman ang dapat na nakararanas nito pero nangyayari pa rin ito sa ating lipunan,” the veteran legislator said.
“Gusto kong makatulong sa mga biktima ng domestic violence kaya kahit sa maliit na bagay na pagbibigay ng dagdag na paid leaves para maasikaso nila ang pagpunta sa korte, maka-attend sa counseling at maalagaan ang kanilang mga anak ay gusto ko sanang maisabatas. Importante na may maasahang leave mula sa trabaho ang mga biktima ng domestic violence para hindi sila mangiming asikasuhin ang mga kailangang ayusin para makabangon sila mula sa pang-aabuso at makapagsimula ng bagong buhay,” the seasoned lawmaker explained.
Violence against women and children (VAWC) has intensified over the years, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Philippine Commission on Women received nearly triple the number of complaints and reports of VAWC cases. Accordingly, from March to November 2020, there had been 13,923 reported cases – 9,176 of which were cases against women while the remaining 4,747 were against children.
While the VAWC Act allows extension of the 10 days of leave presently provided, the extension would have to be upon the approval and determination of the court.
This bill however proposes that the minimum number of leaves needed by victims of domestic violence should be available to them immediately upon court determination that they are indeed suffering from domestic abuse – as opposed to the need to further establish and justify the need for more than 10 days leave.
“Batid natin na para sa mga biktima ng domestic violence, hindi sapat na humiwalay sa asawa o partner ang isang babae o ihiwalay sa pamilya ang isang bata. Marami pa silang dapat na pagdaanan para tuluyang makalaya sa mapait na epekto ng mga pang-aabuso gaya na lamang kung mapagdesisyunan ng isang babae na magsampa ng kaso at sumailalim sa counseling,” the senator said.
“Kailangan masiguro na may nakalaang leave para sa kanila at hindi na dadagdag pa sa kanilang problema ang pag-aabsent mula sa trabaho.”
“Ang lahat ng ito ay karapatan ng mga biktima at para magampanan nila ito kailangan masiguro na may nakalaang leave para sa kanila at hindi na dadagdag pa sa kanilang problema ang pag-aabsent mula sa trabaho,” he added.
This bill also ensures that the number of leaves may be allocated throughout the entire period of the legal proceedings and/or medical treatment, counselling or therapy.
In this regard, this piece of legislation hopes to empower victims of domestic abuse to recover from the trauma of their past by helping them put in order their medical, legal, and domestic needs.