Entitled “NDCP Talks on Women: Ending Violence Against Women”, the forum was held on 27 November 2019 at the NDCP Honor Hall.
The forum featured five inspiring women. Two speakers were from the private sector: Ma Lourdes V Rallonza PhD, Associate Professor, Ateneo de Manila University and Atty Cristina S Sevila, LLM, Founder and Executive Director, Action Against Violence and Exploitation, Inc.
Three speakers were from the military, namely: LTC Rozelle B Salvosa PAF (GSC), Assistant Chief of Command Staff for Operations, Philippine Air Force; Maj Jovita G Buclat (CAV) PA, Administrative Officer, Armor Capability Development Office, Armor Division, Philippine Army and Cpt Jennlyn T Tamacay PA, Section Chief, Review and Policy Development Board, Philippine Army.
The speakers highlighted the consequences of armed conflict on women. They recommended approaches to end violence against women.
Atty Sevilla noted that sexual violence in armed conflict is invisible. As a solution, she Sevilla suggested that there must be increased and closer participation of grass roots level civil society groups in ensuring adequate and survivor-centered responses.
Cpt Tamacay and Maj Buclat recalled their field experiences during the Marawi siege in 2017.
LTC Salvosa shared that she experienced gender-based discrimination in flying school but she managed to hurdle through the challenges.
Dr Rallonza recognized that men and women are both affected by war but are affected differently. She mentioned that the Hijab troopers who are deployed in Marawi helped in the meaningful practice of women, peace, and security.
In his remarks, NDCP President BGen Archimedes H Viaje AFP (Ret), PhD, MNSA underscored the legal foundations of protecting women especially during conflict.
He said, “We must remind ourselves that the direness of any given situation does not alter the fact that women have special needs and special rights guaranteed by prevailing domestic laws and internationally recognized norms.”
BGen Viaje added that, “There is wisdom behind the actions of the international community to protect women in times of peace, conflict, and disaster—this wisdom points to the general imperative of upholding norms and respecting rights.”
The forum was attended by representatives from the various government agencies including the Department of National Defense (DND), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Government Arsenal and Philippine National Police (PNP).
The event was organized by the NDCP in support of the 18-Day Campaign to End VAW, an initiative of the Philippine government.