THE Provincial Commission on Women (PCW) in Dumaguete City, in celebration of Women’s Month, has continued its call for special protection of women and inclusion in the political agenda, as Negros Oriental continues to reel from the effects of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic amid the national and local elections.

But Women and Children’s Protection Desk (WCPD) Chief Police Lieutenant Mariela Mira disclosed in a Kapihan sa PIA forum that violence against women (VAW) cases in the province went down from December 2021 to February 2022.

The police recorded a total of 17 VAW cases in December 2021,10 in January 2022, and four in February 2022.

Three rape cases were logged in January 2022, one in December 2021, and zero in February 2022.

Mira said majority of the rape cases also happened inside the victims' homes and are committed by family members or relatives.

She said the drop in VAW cases is the result of the Philippine National Police's (PNP) continuous information dissemination and awareness in barangays and radio programs, creation of an advocacy support group, appealing to women to join the PNP in its endeavors, and constant presence of the police force in the locality.

In the same forum, PCW Deputy Chair Phoebe Tan said that this year’s National Women’s Month celebration aims to carry out the subtheme “Agenda sa Kababaihan, Tungo sa Kaunlaran,” which focuses on the inclusion and promotion of women’s participation in governance, leadership, and to narrow the gender gap, working towards sustainable and equitable development.

Some of the top women’s concerns that Tan cited to be included in the political candidates’ platforms are improving access to education for women and girls, enhancing participation in climate change mitigation, improving access to justice for victims of abuse, and expanding access to women’s health care services.

Tan said she expects that with this year’s election, political aspirants would make a commitment to push for women’s agenda in their platforms.

PNP’s Women’s Month activities include establishing province-wide checkpoints manned by female PNP personnel, distribution of solar light equipment to impoverished women in far-flung areas under their “Ilaw mo, Sagot Ko” program, and distribution of hygiene kits for women inmates in city and provincial detention facilities. (PIA)