The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) on Wednesday lauded actress Ai-Ai de las Alas for revealing to the public her ordeal with her husband.
In a TV interview last week, De las Alas said she has left her husband Jed Salang after he beat her up earlier this month.
TUCP’s General Secretary Gerard Seno said the actress’ honesty empowered women who are in the same situation but who prefer to keep silent.
“She is one brave woman. Ai-Ai’s courageous act of coming out in the public and narrate her ordeal will embolden other Filipinas with the same fate but are poor and who felt powerless to come out in the open and confront a growing social problem,” Seno expressed.
Records by TUCP’s affiliate Associated Labor Unions’ National Committee on Women collated in November last year showed 12,948 Violence Against Women (VAW) cases were recorded by the Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC) of the Philippine National Police, 69.7 per cent of which were violations of the anti-Violence Against Children and Women law.
“Eight years after the Republic Act 9262 or Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children (VAWC) law was passed, violence against women continues to persist as one of the country’s pervasive social problems,” Sister Eva Arcos, ALU Vice President and general secretary of the Associated Labor Unions National Committee on Women (ANCW).
Reported cases under RA 9262 increased from 218 in 2004 to 9,974 cases in 2010. Similarly, VAW cases in all categories such as rape, physical injuries, sexual harassment among others increased an average of 26.9 percent annually from 2006 to 2010. The biggest annual increase or 59.2 percent was recorded in 2010 with 15,104 cases, compared with 9,485 cases in 2009.
“The data is very alarming. The figures are not even conclusive as they are based only from what were reported to the PNP. There should be a system to consolidate VAW information from all sources, and to disseminate such for proper appreciation and intervention,” Arcos cited.
She also added that many VAW victims still chose to keep their experiences to themselves to protect the family from shame. She noted that even the National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) conducted by the National Statistics Office (NSO) has recognized that a greater challenge now is the lack of concrete information on the extent of VAW in the country as many of these cases go unreported.
“We must provide a listening, just and empowering environment to break the culture of silence. Mechanisms or structures must be in place to prevent and address VAW, with safety, healing and empowerment of victims and/or survivors and accountability of offenders as core goals,” Arcos said.
“Information and education campaign on the law and its strict implementation, including effective operation of intervention structures like local-level women’s desks are critical. The use of social media and global solidarity campaigns can help give human face to the extent and gravity of VAW,” she said.
JOHANNA M. SAMPAN