Proclamation No. 227 series of 1998 provides for the observance of March as Women’s Role in History month. As per the abovementioned proclamation, Filipino women have played and continued to play a critical economic, cultural, political, and social role in every sphere of our nation’s life by constituting a significant portion of the labor force working in and outside of the home; thus, it is recognized that sexual harassment occurs in work, education, and training environments. Moreover, Gender-based sexual harassment can be experienced anywhere be it in public spaces, offices, or educational institutions, and with the evolution of technology and the accessibility of the internet, sexual harassment has also become prevalent in the online space. It is therefore essential to create a more fair and just society not only for Filipino women but for all. Hence, in April 2019, President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law Republic Act No. 11313 (known as the “Safe Spaces Act”) to ensure the equality, security, and safety of every individual, in both private and public spaces, including online and in workplaces.
In celebration of Women’s Month, a webinar entitled “Orientation on Safe Spaces Act (RA 11313)” was successfully conducted last March 23, 2022. It was held by Pangasinan State University in collaboration with the Gender and Development Resource Centre which was quite pertinent in our society. The webinar was held via Zoom platform and streamed through Facebook live with hundreds of participants.
The Campus Guidance Counselor and a member of GAD Unit, Mr. Randy De Guzman, delivered the welcome remarks where he acknowledged the resource speaker, university officials, faculty members, employees, students, and other Facebook live viewers. Dr. Maria Berenice Glizzle M. Catabay, the Coordinator of the GAD Unit explained the objectives of the webinar and the house rules.
Atty. Jordan R. Galimba Public Attorney 2 of PAO-San Carlos District Office shared his expertise as a resource speaker. He thoroughly discussed the said law and how it applies to the work environment. He mentioned that safe spaces are places where people feel physically and emotionally safe where they may freely express themselves without the fear of criticism and violence. These exhibit respect for the dignity of all human beings and complete respect for human rights, guaranteeing that both men and women enjoy quality, security, and safety not only in private but also in streets, public spaces, online, workplaces, and educational and training institutions. In addition, he explained how crucial it is to comprehend declaration policies, important definitions, and general acts punishable in Gender-Based Sexual Harassment, revealing that Committee on Decorum and Investigation (CODI) is extremely significant in institutions.
To ensure that listeners understood the talk, Atty. Galimba has presented sets of situations/cases about the topic. The participants then gave their opinion on the presented situations/topics. It was indeed an amazing and lively discussion since the participants actively participated by asking relevant questions as well as by sharing their thoughts or insights on the topic. With that, we are certain that this topic genuinely opened the minds and widened the horizons of our participants.
Atty. Galimba ended his talk by reiterating that everyone has the responsibility to make a safe environment and a secured community free from criticism and harm. A VAWC-free community should start with every individual.
Afterward, Certificates of recognition were virtually awarded to our resource speaker in acknowledgment of his invaluable services rendered to fully realized this webinar. A link for evaluation was also disseminated to the participants for them to secure an E-Certificate. The webinar was formally ended at exactly 12NN thru the closing remarks by Mr. Wilbert O. Rosario
A quote from former Supreme Court US Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: “Fight for the things that you care about but do it in a way that will lead others to join you” is the best way to describe the goal of this webinar.//