The Civil Service Commission (CSC) urged government agencies to participate in the observance of the 18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women (VAW) that will run from November 25 to December 12.
This annual occasion, with the theme “Magna Carta ni PiNay: Gawing Tunay, Karahasan sa Kababaihan, Wakasan!” aims to eliminate gender-based violence by stressing the need to protect the rights and opportunities of Filipino women outlined in the Magna Carta of Women (Republic Act No. 9710).
According to the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) website, VAW is “a human rights issue” and “is not limited to physical abuse”. Violence committed against women may come in the form of “emotional, verbal, psychological, economic and sexual abuse”.
To participate in the 18-day campaign, agencies may undertake activities that aim to end gender-based violence, including a one-day orientation session for human resource (HR) practitioners in government that will focus on the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace and highlight provisions and gaps in the existing Anti-Sexual Harassment Law. They may also participate in the activities lined up by the PCW, the lead agency for the observance of the annual campaign.
CSC Chair Francisco T. Duque III said that the CSC has long been a staunch supporter of the government’s anti-VAW campaign in line with its efforts to mainstream gender and development (GAD) in the bureaucracy.
“Being the primary institution tasked with protecting the rights and welfare of state workers, part of our objectives is to eliminate gender biases in the workplace and to address the specific needs of female and male employees,” Duque said.
He said that the CSC is continuously reviewing and enhancing HR policies in the public sector to make them more gender-responsive. In 1991, the CSC revised the rule on maternity leave benefits to provide a woman the option to return to her work before the expiration of her two-month leave, allowing her to receive the benefits granted under the Maternity Leave Law and the salary for actual services rendered effective the day she reports for work.
To complement the maternity leave, the CSC jointly penned with the Department of Health the policy granting paternity leave. This privilege is granted to a married male employee, allowing him to take a leave for seven days with pay so that he can lend support and care for his wife in her period of recovery after delivery or miscarriage, and in taking care of the newly-born.
The CSC promulgated in 1994 the Anti-Sexual Harassment Policy in the Workplace. The said circular defines sexual harassment and characterizes it as an administrative offense.
Pursuant to the Solo Parents Welfare Act of 2002, the CSC expanded the scope of granting maternity leave benefits to unmarried women. It also issued a directive granting seven days of parental leave to solo parents in recognition of their parental responsibilities and obligations.
Addressing the need to level the playing field, the Commission issued in 1999 a directive calling for equal representation of women and men in third level positions in government to promote gender equality.
In 2001, the CSC formulated the Administrative Disciplinary Rules on Sexual Harassment Cases. Considered a landmark issuance of the CSC, the new Rules provide for the consistent and uniform rules of procedure in investigating, prosecuting and resolving sexual harassment cases in government offices.
Among its salient provisions is the creation of the Committee on Decorum and Investigation (CODI) in all government agencies. The CODI shall be responsible for receiving and investigating sexual harassment complaints. Capability-building programs were designed for those who will conduct training programs on anti-sexual harassment rules and policies. A memorandum of agreement was signed with the Department of Education for the conduct of training on sexual harassment with the CODI of the agency’s regional and division offices.
In January 2004, the CSC, through its Human Resource Development Office, developed a training design on Gender Sensitivity Training (GST) Program. The program aims to enhance awareness and deeper understanding of gender concepts and the manifestations of gender bias.