The Department of Labor and Employment – National Capital Region (DOLE-NCR) joined the annual observance of the Philippine Commission on Women’s (PCW) “18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women (VAW)” through a solidarity walk on November 26, 2022.

Before the 2-kilometer parade along selected areas in the City of Manila, the labor officials from the Central Office, Bureaus, DOLE-NCR, including partners from the City Government of Manila and PCW assembled at the Bonifacio Shrine in Ermita, Manila for the opening ceremonies.

DOLE-NCR representatives led by Regional Director, Atty. Sarah Buena S. Mirasol joined the unity walk together with Assistant Regional Directors, Atty. Jude Thomas P. Trayvilla and Atty. Russel A. Jallorina, and Field Office Directors and Division Heads.

DOLE Undersecretary for Workers’ Welfare and Protection Cluster, Atty. Benjo Santos M. Benavidez led the opening ceremony and emphasized that the unity walk symbolizes DOLE’s unwavering commitment to end any forms of violence against women and their children. He also urged everyone to end discrimination in the workplaces, promoting equal rights and opportunities for all, regardless of their gender identity, sexual orientation, age, beliefs, and on many other grounds.

“Sa pamamagitan ng UNiTed for VAW-free Philippines Solidarity Walk, nais din nating bigyang diin na walang puwang ang diskriminasyon sa kasarian sa ating mga pagawaan. Ang bawat Pilipino, anuman ang kasarian at pagkakakilanlan ay malayang makilahok at maging produktibong mamamayan ng ating bansa,” said Benavidez on behalf Labor Secretary Bienvenido E. Laguesma.

He added: “Nais ko rin pasalamatan ang ating mga partners, ang LGU, ang lungsod ng Maynila sa pamumuno ni Mayor Honey Lacuna at mga pribadong sektor sa patuloy na pagtataguyod ng pantay na karapatan sa kani-kanilang mga pagawaan…Sa lahat ng ating mga manggagawang kababaihan, makakaasa kayo na patuloy na magsusulong ang Kagawaran ng mga programa at pulisiya tungo sa mas progresibo at inklusibong sektor ng paggawa at empleyo sa bansa.”

Meanwhile, PCW Executive Director, Atty. Kristine Rosary E. Yuzon-Chaves thanked the labor department and the City Government of Manila for their invaluable support to their campaign. She said that with the orange color as a unifying symbol, the PCW chief also urged everyone to do their part in protecting the human rights by becoming vigilant and observant, providing services and creating a platform for the victims to share their experience, and holding the offenders and perpetrators accountable for their actions.

“Beyond this call, as a unit and as a society, let us prevent the occurrence of all forms of violence. Change the culture of hate. Let us make our homes a haven of love and respect to one another,” added Yuzon-Chaves in a statement delivered by PCW Senior Gender and Development Specialist, Mr. Armando Orcilla, Jr.

“In our workspaces, let us transform the structure of subordination and embody the concept of equality and equity. I hope that this solidarity walk create a message that women and girls must live free of fear, violence and insecurity,” she added.

Among other key officials were also present to grace the event, including DOLE Assistant Secretary for Workers’ Welfare and Protection Cluster, Ms. Dominique R. Tutay; DOLE-Bureau of Working Conditions (BWC) Director Alvin B. Curada; DOLE Region IV-A Director, Atty. Ma. Karina B. Perida-Trayvilla; Employees’ Compensation Commission (ECC) Deputy Executive Director, Atty. Evelyn R. Ramos; and Public Employment Service Office Manager Fernan Bermejo of the City Government of Manila.

END / Hershey Aquino with photos by Iris Iera Espeña