DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/12 June) – Davao City, which has long been acknowledged to be way ahead in mainstreaming Gender and Development (GAD) issues is the only local government unit in the Philippines that has gone beyond discussing men’s responsibilities in GAD (MR GAD) in advocacy forums but has activities for men, including celebrating Fathers’ Day next week.
“We are the only LGU in the Philippines that has activities on men,” said Maduh Damsani, director of the Commission on Population (Popcom XI), adding other cities have discuss men in relation to GAD but in advocacy forums only.
From five barangays (Sasa, Panacan, Calinan, Daliao and Toril) when it was first established four years ago, MR GAD has expanded to the present 15 barangays, GAD Fathers founder Leonardo Avila III, a former three-term councilor now city agriculture officer, said.
GAD Fathers (Gender and Development Fathers Advocating Total Health, Responsibility and Gender Sensitivity) is a participating group in MR GAD. It was formed separately, focusing on highlighting fathers’ role in family and society, Avila said.
“A common misconception on GAD is that it only focuses on women. On the other hand, men don’t understand why women should be empowered,” said Damsani. He noted that men’s being outside the home most of the time may contribute to their lack of understanding on their important roles aside from economic contribution to the family.
The objectives of the Fathers’ Day activity are to celebrate together with the family and different stakeholders in Davao City the fathers’ positive role in raising and nurturing their families and children; and to focus on issues on the fathers’ role in different contexts, Damsani said.
On the controversial Reproductive Health bill, Avila said MR GAD facilitates for men to have wider understanding on significant issues such as resources, population and development, other than focusing on adapting family planning methods.
There will be a series of activities on June 17 at the People’s Park from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Activities include contests like singing and on-the-spot painting and parlor games. This event is organized by the Health Management and Research Group Foundation together with PopCom, Department of Health, Philippine National Police, Department of Social Welfare and Development and City Social Welfare and Development Office.
Davao City’s Gender-Responsive Governance program has won for it a Galing Pook award in 2004.
Galing Pook awarded the city because “in many ways, Davao City had been much ahead of others in GAD mainstreaming. It was the first to legislate a development code for women. It had a mechanism for electing women representatives in the city council. It had a permanent office, created by law, dedicated to GAD mainstreaming. It had mandated public funds for GAD programs (at least 6% of agricultural development fund, 30% of official development assistance fund, and 5% of general fund). It was the birthplace of the Mindanao Commission on Women. It had the first Women Correctional Institute in Mindanao. It had the first landmark case on marital rape. Its city council does not approve budget without GAD plan.” (JB Tingzon/MindaNews)