Civil society-led women’s coalition formed in Kidapawan

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 12 March) – A civil society-led Local Council of Women (LCW) was formally organized in Kidapawan City after representatives from 36 women’s organizations held their first general assembly on Tuesday.

For three years, the members of the board of trustees of the LCW, whose term ended on March 10, were appointed by city mayor.

“Finally, the LCW, which is considered an arm of the city government in ensuring that the women sector has access to the Gender and Development (GAD) Fund and other basic services of the LGU, was organized,” said newly-elected LCW president Sister Lalyn Macahilo of the Oblates of Notre Dame (OND) Women Ecological Society.

Macahilo cited that the increasing number of cases of violence against women and children (VAWC) has led several women leaders in the city to form a coalition and seek assistance from the LGU to have access to GAD funds.

“If women have access to GAD funds, they can propose projects for abused women and children, like construction of shelter, provision of trauma counseling, and other interventions,” said Macahilo.

She used as basis several instrumentalities, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, Magna Carta of Women or the Republic Act 9710, and the Anti-Violence against Women and Children’s Act or RA 9262, to push women’s agenda as among the priorities of the city LGU.

“Almost daily we hear cases of rape, incest, domestic violence, trafficking of girls, and other forms of sexual abuses. We, women leaders, could no longer bear theses abuses. We have to act now,” said Macahilo.

Among the projects the group has proposed is the drafting of a Gender Code of Kidapawan City.

“If we cannot make it in this present council because of the upcoming local elections, we will hand this over to the next Sanggunian,” she stressed.

Other LCW officers elected were Herminigilda Escalante, of the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines, vice president; Flor Sojon, of the Integrated Rural Development Foundation, secretary; Ruby Sison, of Gabriela-North Cotabato, vice-secretary; Edith Bernad, of the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement, treasurer; and Rose Catedrilla, of the Lihok Kababayen-an sa Kidapawan, vice-treasurer. (Malu Cadelina Manar / Mindanews)