In lieu of the UP Open University’s celebration of International Women’s Month, a forum entitled “Towards Gender Equality and Justice: The Role of Men in Stopping Violence against Women” was spearheaded by the Office of Gender Concerns (OGC). This was held on 11 March 2016 at the Audio Visual Room, UP Open University Headquarters, Los Baños, Laguna.
Dr. Primo Garcia, Concurrent Director of the Information Office and Multimedia Center of the UP Open University, welcomed the participants and opened the forum. He mentioned the efforts and initiatives of the university towards gender equality and discussed the vulnerability of women in cases related to sexuality, crime and abuse.
Asst. Prof. Finaflor Taylan, Director of the OGC, introduced the forum speaker Mr. Ricky Bunao, who is also the Interim President of the Men Opposing VAW Everywhere (MOVE) Philippines. He is a Social Welfare Officer and the Head of Haven for the Elderly of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). He also serves as the National President of the MOVE DSWD Chapter and Association of DSWD Social Workers, Inc. (ADSW).
MOVE is an organizational advocacy to stop the prevalence of violence against women and children and prevent domestic violence against men, senior citizens and differently abled. According to the data from the Philippine National Police (PNP), the topmost reported cases that violate RA 9262 (Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act) include rape, trafficking, and abuse. MOVE also talks about the important role of men in gender equality where men must understand VAW, be aware of the VAW issues, be aware that government is doing something for VAW, and be involved and become partners to prevent VAW.
MOVE also partnered with different international and local government organizations such as Department of Interior and Local Governance (DILG), DSWD, PNP, and the Armed Forces. It has recently launched a new program called “He for She Campaign.” Mr. Bunao stated that if men are well-informed, trained and educated about Gender Equality and Violence against Women and Children (VAWC), they can be part of the solution to gender-based violence. (Criscelle O. Moya-Pobre)