OPAPP meets women IDPs for peace talk

By Claire R. Gigje

Internally displaced women at Lake View Shelter, Brgy. Boganga attend the OPAPP’s peace conversation to address their women-related issues and concerns, especially during the siege. (Angelo Dologmandin/ PIA-ICIC)

MARAWI CITY, May 19–To respond to the mandate of upholding the national action plan on women, peace and security, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) convened Tuesday, May 18, internally displaced women from different transitory shelters here for a peace conversation addressing their concerns and situation during the siege. 

The program is a joint effort of the OPAPP, Bangsamoro Women Commission and members of the National Steering Commission on Women, Peace and Security including the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of National Defense, Philippine National Police, National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, among others.

John Rey Catalan, OPAPP Program Manager and Head of National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security Division, shared that women are the targeted participants of the program as they are seen to be the most affected by various circumstances.

“Sila iyong target natin kasi sa panahon ng conflict, sila iyong may mga hirap na pinagdadaanan kasi biologically, sila iyong nabubuntis, nanganganak… Sila din iyong nagiging target ng sexual at gender violence… Maliban pa doon, may iba pang issues like may mga social biases against women na kailangan ding tingnan,” he said.

[They are our target because during conflict, they are the ones who suffer the most because biologically, they are the ones who get pregnant, give birth… They are also the ones who become targets of sexual and gender violence… Aside from that, there are issues like social biases against women that must also be seen.]

“Ilan lang iyon sa issues na kailangan pag-aralan para pagbigay ng mga programa ng gobyerno, mailagay nila iyan sa disenyo at sa implementasyon ng kanilang mga programa,” Catalan added.

[These are just some of the issues that must be studied so that when government programs are laid, they will be able to incorporate that in their design and implementation of their programs.]

He further stressed that through the program, they will be able to magnify the long-term impact of the conflict, and their actual experiences and suggestions to prevent the incident from happening again.

The peace conversation falls under OPAPP’s national action plan completed by its four pillars, to wit, women empowerment to make them part of the process of addressing women-related concerns, protection in any aspect such as psychological and physical regard, promotion of their skills and talents, and monitoring and mainstreaming their needs in programs of other government agencies.

With this, participants delivered their gratefulness for the extended government service.

“Nagpapasalamat kami sa OPAPP para sa opportunity na ito para masabi namin ang mga saloobin namin bilang isang babae,” conveyed Princess Amanie Amer, a resident of the Lake View Shelter in Brgy. Boganga.

[We are thanking OPAPP for this opportunity of expressing our thoughts as women.]

Meanwhile, Catalan assured the women sector that the government carries on its support for them through acknowledging their issues and concerns.

“Kami sa OPAPP, kasama ng aming partners, National Steering Committee on Women, Peace and Security at ang Bangsamoro Women Commission, ay patuloy na tumitingan at masikap na maintindahan para maiparating ito sa mga ahensyang may mandato upang tugunan ang kanilang mga pangangailangan,” he stated.

[We at OPAPP, together with our partners, National Steering Committee on Women, Peace and Security and the Bangsamoro Women Commission, continuously see and strive to understand so that this may be addressed to agencies who have the mandate of responding to their needs.] Philippine Information Agency

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