• House to investigate rape incidents in evacuation centers

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    A lawmaker has called for a congressional inquiry into rape incidents in the evacuation centers in Leyte, Samar and Zamboanga City.

    Rep. Linabelle Ruth Villarica (4th District, Bulacan) filed House Resolution 788 urging the House Committee on Women and Gender Equality to review the measures undertaken by various government entities to protect women and children during disasters, calamities and other crisis situations.

    Villarica said women and children are 14 times more likely to be victims of natural disasters than men in societies where gender inequalities exist.

    “The State is mandated to address the particular needs of women from a gender perspective to ensure their protection from sexual exploitation and other sexual and gender based violence committed against them,” Villarica said.

    Villarica said the Magna Carta of Women (MCW) recognizes the right of women to protection and security in times of disasters, calamities and other crisis situations especially in all phases of relief, recovery, rehabilitation and construction efforts.

    “The MCW provides for immediate humanitarian assistance, allocation of resources and early resettlement, if necessary, for women-victims,” Villarica said.

    “The MCW also provides the institution of measures to ensure the protection of civilians in conflict-affected communities with special consideration for the specific needs of women and girls,” Villarica added.

    The Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 or RA 1012 mandates local risk reduction and management offices to respond and manage the adverse effects of emergencies and carry out recovery activities in the affected areas,

    Villarica said the government should ensure that there is an efficient mechanism for immediate delivery of food, shelter and medical supplies for women and children, endeavor to create a special place where internally-displaced mothers can find help related to breastfeeding, feed and care for their babies and give support to one another.

    “While the Philippines’ exposure to disasters is to a significant extent due to the country’s geographical and physical characteristics, it is also the product of the social, economic and political environment where people live in adverse socio-economic situations that lead them to inhabit high risk areas and engage in unsustainable and dangerous livelihoods,” Villarica said. PNA

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