The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has joined the 18-day campaign to end violence against women (VAW). The PCG Commandant Rear Admiral William M. Melad launched the campaign, which carries the theme “VAW-free community starts with me,” at the PCG Headquarters in Manila on November 28.
The event kicked off the activities lined up as part of the agency’s participation in this year’s campaign against VAW which included the holding of a symposium on November 29 on RA 9262 (Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act) and the Run for #VAWfreePh to be held today (December 3) with the start and finish at the Quirino Grandstand.
The 18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women (VAW) is observed annually from November 25 to December 12 to raise awareness that VAW is a public issue of national concern. It supports the Philippine government’s goal to protect the human rights of women and its commitment to address all forms of VAW.
In his address to the PCG officers, non-officers and non-uniformed personnel, RAdm Melad encouraged both the women and men of the agency to advocate a VAW-free uniformed armed service. He mentioned that in 2014, the command approved the establishment of the Committee on Decorum and Investigation or CODI, which is tasked to receive complaints of sexual harassment, investigate sexual harassment complaints, and report on its findings with the corresponding recommendation to the disciplining authority. The CODI also leads in the conduct of discussions about sexual harassment within the PCG.
RAdm Melad committed to continue equipping the frontline service providers with the necessary training and capacity development programs and allocate resources to ensure gender-responsive service delivery to the stakeholders as he called for the inclusion of the advocacy on anti-VAW in the PCG’s citizen’s charter and information and education materials.
He admonished the men and women of PCG to know and respect each person’s rights and to help end VAW through the following guidelines recommended by the Philippine Commission on Women:
•Never commit VAW
•Never condone VAW
•Never remain silent about VAW
The PCG Commandant quoted Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa, the Most Reverend Desmond Tutu who said, “it is by standing up for the rights of girls and women that we truly measure up as men.”