Senator Sonny Angara has called on the government to intensify programs that promote the participation and equitable representation of women particularly in the policy-making processes in government as well as in the military and police force.
Angara, during his days in the Lower House, was one of the authors of the Magna Carta of Women or Republic Act 9710 that seeks to eliminate discrimination by recognizing and protecting the rights of Filipinas.
In celebration of National Women’s Month, the senator highlighted a provision in the Magna Carta’s implementing rules and regulations that seeks to increase the quota to 20% for female admission into schools and institutions in the military and police.
At present, according to the official website of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), the number of female cadets is limited to not more than 5%.
“We congratulate Cadet First Class Rovi Martinez for topping this year’s PMA graduating cadets, and the other seven female cadets who landed in the top 10. Sila ang patunay na hindi lamang ang kalalakihan ang may kakayahang manguna dito. Kaya’t dapat siguraduhin natin na sila ay may pantay na oportunidad upang makapaglingkod sa sandatahang lakas,” Angara said.
Meanwhile, female police officers compose 18% or 25,862 of the 168,897-strong Philippine National Police.
The Magna Carta further states that women in the military and police force shall be accorded the same promotional privileges and opportunities as men, including pay increases, additional remunerations and benefits, and awards based on their competency and quality of performance.
Likewise, Angara said the number of women in third level or supervisory positions in government must be increased to achieve a 50-50 gender balance as mandated under RA 9710.
“It’s almost eight years since the comprehensive women’s rights law was enacted and yet, gender gap in economic and political participation persists. Gains have definitely been made but there’s still more that we can do to finally close this gap and fully realize women’s role as agents and beneficiaries of development,” he said.
Data from the Civil Service Commission showed that while there are more female than male of the total 1.86 million government workforce, the men still outnumber the women in top level or decision-making positions.
Of the 2,013 top level positions, 1,135 slots or 56% are filled by male while 878 or 44% are female. The top or third level positions include the Undersecretary, Assistant Secretary, Bureau Director, Assistant Bureau Director, Regional Director, Assistant Regional Director, Chief of Department Service and other officers of equivalent rank, all of whom are appointed by the President.
“We call on all government agencies to take proactive steps to capacitate women employees to strengthen their qualifications and performance to compete for third-level positions. Competence and work experience should be main considerations for promotions and top positions, not gender,” the lawmaker added.
Apart from equal employment opportunities, Angara stressed that the Magna Carta of Women mandates the government to ensure that women are provided with equal access to formal sources of credit and capital, equal share to the produce of farms and aquatic resources, livelihood opportunities for returning women migrant workers through entrepreneurship development, among others.