Women’s groups form coalition in Kidapawan

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/10 January) — Representatives from at least 32 different women organizations, non-government institutions, and government agencies, including policewomen, have formed a coalition to protect them from all forms of abuses, oppression, and harassments.

Sr. Lalyn Macahilo of the Oblates of Notre Dame, elected chair of the still unnamed coalition, said many women and children are abused every day. Some cases are reported but others not, she said.

The nun added that many of the abused women and children are still living with their perpetrators instead of  placing  them in a center where they could undergo trauma counseling.

The city, she said, has no center where survivors can undergo psycho-therapy and rehabilitation.

The coalition, Macahilo said, will strengthen the women’s  sector so they could have access to the gender and development (GAD) fund of the local government unit, and get a seat at the legislative council.

She stressed the need for the city government to allot enough funds to prevent an increase in the cases of violence against women and children (VAWC).

In November last year, the city social welfare and development office reported 52 VAWC cases.

The nun said the coalition is like a Local Women’s Council (LCW) whose task is to represent the women’s sector in the city government’s decision-making, especially on issues affecting them.

Macahilo said the assembly was the first in the city after Mayor Rodolfo Gantuangco issued in March 2011 an executive order creating the LCW.

Using the DILG order as basis, City DILG officer Inecita Kiunisala said the city government of Kidapawan should appropriate annually at least P20 million for GAD projects.

Kidapawan City councilor and lawyer Dina Espina-Chua, chair of the Committee on Women, Family, and Children at the Sangguniang Panglungsod, said her committee has  no access to the GAD fund which is under the Office of the City Mayor. (Malu Cadelina-Manar/MindaNews)