Twenty-eight participants from the government, academe, private sector, and civil society organizations completed the five-day short course titled “Gender Analysis of Violence and Security: Theory, Research, and Practice” on 10 December 2021 via Zoom Teleconferencing. Also known as “GAVS,” the short course was developed by the Philippine Center of Excellence in Defense, Development, and Security (PCEDS) of the National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP) and the Women and Gender Institute (WAGI) of Miriam College.
The course was delivered by expert academics and practitioners in the field of security studies, gender studies, peace, and human rights. Its content and learning activities were designed to advance knowledge of feminist and gender approaches to security studies, analyze the gender dimension of violence and security through research, as well as apply gender analysis frameworks and tools for gender mainstreaming in the security sector.
In the course wrap-up session, Mr Rej Cortez Torrecampo, Director of PCEDS and the Faculty-in-Charge of GAVS, emphasized that the course team intended to build a positive learning environment and a safe space for everyone to critically examine prevailing notions of violence and security using a gender lens. He explained that the short course was designed to allow the participants not only to study gender-based violence and discrimination, but to deep dive at the mental models, beliefs, assumptions, and traditions that produce the phenomenon as well. Mr Torrecampo then challenged those who completed the short course to be the champions and advocates in their respective organizations and share their experiences with others.
Dr Melanie Reyes, Executive Director of WAGI, thanked the participants for actively taking part in the discussions and activities. She recognized that while there are initiatives already being done to maintain peace and security, there are still challenges rooted in the Philippines’ cultural practices and beliefs systems. Some reflections Dr Reyes highlighted include rebuilding the people’s trust in the security sector and highlighting the importance of being gender-sensitive and inclusive. She also said there is a need to recognize the vital role of women and people with diverse sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression (SOGIE) across the efforts to sustain peace and development. Moreover, Dr Reyes raised the need to explore how to move forward with gender-responsive and transformative approaches to peace and security.
Meanwhile, Dr Archimedes H Viaje, MNSA, CESE, President of the NDCP, assured that the College is firm in its commitment to uphold the ideals and values of human rights, peace, justice, and equality. Dr Viaje further explained that in order to achieve and sustain peace in the Philippines, the security sector must simultaneously work towards narrowing the gender gap, which would prevent and address gender-based discrimination and violence, as well as create safe spaces for all, regardless of sex, gender, religion, ethnicity, or disability. The NDCP President added that part of the country’s national security efforts is achieving “a state or condition wherein the people’s welfare, well-being, ways of life…and core values are enhanced and protected.”
More than half of the participants, or 64 percent, are from various government agencies, namely the Department of National Defense, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Office of Civil Defense, Department of Information and Communications Technology, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, National Irrigation Administration, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, Philippine Ports Authority, Philippine Public Safety College, and Poro Point Management Corp – BCDA Group. Meanwhile, comprising 36 percent of the participants are those from the academe, private sector, and civil society organizations, namely from Asian Institute of Management, Holy Angel University, International Movement of Development Managers, Liberal Party of the Philippines, Mandaluyong College of Science and Technology, Norwegian Training Center, Sierra Madre Sanctuary, Verizon Philippines, and Western Philippines University. Two participants are also students of the Master in National Security Administration Regular Course 57.