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Private and Public Faces of Violence Against Women: Addressing Domestic Violence and Trafficking In the Urban Poor Communities and “Redlight Districts” (also known as Entertainment Centers) of Angeles City and Olongapo City ( The Red AVP)

Contract number: Ref. 2009/220-287

Anne (Idy) Marie Pamintuan (Barangay Councilor, Angeles City): Before [the project started], there was a wrong or incorrect interpretation and implementation of RA 9262; now [with the project], barangay officials are more knowledgeable with the law and with how VAW/C should be implemented. When The Red AVP came, their knowledge expanded.

 Yolanda Guiao (Community Leader, President of NagKa, Angeles City): I shared what I learned from The Red AVP’s training. I shared with them the knowledge that women have rights, and that they ought to know what to do when their husbands beat them up.

 Alma Bulawan (Community Leader, President of Buklod Center, Olongapo City): There are many forms of violence which people don’t see or realize because many women don’t complain or report. In the research report conducted by The Red AVP, we saw the number of reported cases. As part of the Trainers’ Pool, I can give more training to other people in Olongapo. The project did a lot of things, but violence doesn’t stop after 18 months; it’s good that we have a group *Stand AVP Now!+ which can continue the work, but it’s even better if we can have more barangays as pilot [areas].

 Heide Patio (Head, City Social Work and Development Office, Angeles City): There is an Angeles City Executive Order where WeDpro is included in the reconstituted task force on violence against women and children including human trafficking (VAWCT). The research component [of the project] was very useful for planning purposes and enabled us to identify the services needed. The Red AVP was a big help to the DSWD. But it is unfortunate that there are only two barangays selected by the project. We need continuous training especially there are newly elected barangay officials who need this training; more capability building, and direct assistance to VAW victims and survivors. We have the law, but we really need good implementation.

Edna Manlapaz (Official, Angeles University Foundation, Angeles City): The result of the research is informative and covers a number of concerns. Through the theatre component, there is clearly the message about the promotion of women’s rights. During the first training, I felt a bit depressed at my age, I realized I have no knowledge of many things. Here I saw the challenge—that I can be an instrument to help women not only in school but in their communities. After the training I shared with the group and it is now part of our advocacy in school as a way of promoting women’s rights. There are two theater groups that have been formed, and I know they will pursue their goals, but they still need monitoring and supervision until such time that we can say that the project has been sustained. The theatre groups will continue the goals of WeDpro. This, to me, is an indicator that the project successful. I feel sad because it seems like we have just started; 18 months is not enough to address the breadth and depth of the problems of women.

Editha Lacsina (GAD Committee Head, Region 3 PNP Institute, Angeles): We can teach our students about what is happening at the barangay level.

Theater Scholars (interviewed as a group, Angeles and Olongapo):

  • We got involved because friends encouraged us to join; some saw the posters announcing the auditions for the theatre formation in WeDpro’s office.
  • We became aware of our rights;
  • We learned how to explain gender and realized how gender insensitive our society is;
  • We learned that homosexuals have rights – that they can speak out and speak on issues that are close to their hearts;
  • We deepened our knowledge about women’s and children’s rights;
  • We feel pain when women in the bars are looked down and discriminated.

 Highlights of The Red AVP

Reach. For the period November 2010-April 2011 covering the Final Report, eight thousand four hundred eighty (8, 480) individuals participated; five thousand eight hundred twenty six (5,826) female participants and two thousand six hundred fifty four (2,654) male participants in forty one (41) activities. This figure does not include those who accessed WeDpro’s website, read the publicly disseminated / distributed IEC materials, watched the videos, and accessed the online releases on the project and other events which had been organized by the project implementers, participants and final beneficiaries. Given the multiplier effects of many of the Action’s main activities and spin off activities, and the extensive use of social networking sites and media, the overall total number of final beneficiaries could not be specifically ascertained. Overall, the general estimates could run to hundreds of thousands, nationally and globally.

Goals achieved. In the eighteen (18) months of implementation of the Action, WeDpro accomplished its intended results in terms of the action’s overall goal. The governance environment in terms of the stated goals has been enhanced, with key stakeholders at the city and barangay levels aware of the problems that beset the implementation of the laws on domestic violence / violence against women, trafficking in women and related laws protecting women’s rights, on the one hand, and establishing mechanisms to address issues and concerns including the allocations of resources on the other hand. There is a heightened awareness of the issues and intensified efforts to mainstream gender and rights based perspective in programs, projects and activities. Several examples are cited in the various sections of the present report.

As well, the specific objectives were achieved successfully. Examples of these include the issuance of ordinances related to the concerns on violence against women and trafficking; activation of task forces on violence against women and trafficking; the creation of anti-violence against women desks in the 33 barangays in Angeles City; the ordinance in Olongapo City mandating the allocation of five percent (5%) of the budget for gender and development mainstreaming; among others.

Credibility and Support. The project has gained credibility and support among the target groups and various stakeholders who have initiated policies, programs, projects and activities to make visible the issues of violence against women and trafficking; likewise, they have been able to expand their networks of support for VAWC and trafficking cases. There is an acceptance of the gaps and challenges related to the laws’ implementation as outlined in the research reports.

Policy Recommendations. The recommendations were forwarded to appropriate local government agencies, and shared with the communities. While the mainstreaming of a gender and rights based perspective is an ongoing process, there are already various recommendations that have been taken and incorporated into the various programs, activities and projects of the target groups.

Collaboration and Sustainabilty. From the various activities implemented and the evaluations of these activities4, stakeholders are much more aware of and are committed to sustain the cooperation and collaboration towards developing a gender-responsive governance environment. For instance, Stand AV Now!, a network composed of local government officials, the Action’s implementing partner, Buklod, and other members of the Project Steering Committee (PSC) in Olongapo City, was formed as an immediate response to a case of sex trafficking in San Marcelino, Zambales. The network has openly stated that its establishment has been inspired by and a result of their engagement with “The Red AVP”. WeDpro is supporting the network in key activities, e.g., provided contact for the inclusion of a private counsel for Charisse. The Angeles City group, on the other hand, is formalizing its network initially through the existing PSC members, and eventually to include others.

The Project Steering Committees. Another example of the stakeholders’ commitment to sustain the Action is seen in the Project Steering Committees’ (PSCs) concrete support for and commitment to the community based theater groups, particularly in providing venues for various activities, snacks or meals, transportation, and moral support not just to the groups but to particular individuals who have sought attention and material support for their organizational and personal needs. A recent example of this is the cash donation from the offices of Mayors Edgardo Pamintuan of Angeles City and James “Bong” Gordon of Olongapo City to two theater scholars who have been accepted to a prestigious theater arts workshop this summer (May 2011); this activity is beyond the timeframe of the present Action and has signaled the potential long-term support for one of the key project components of the present Action. The Red AVP is hoping that more support will be given even after the formal timeframe of the project.

Component 1 –Research Report. The reports are entitled “Surviving Violence and Trafficking – Stories of Women and Youth” (Angeles and Olongapo) and had its final launching on 14 December 2010 at Bahay ni Isis (Central District, Quezon City, Philippines).

The publications document the findings and recommendations, as well as feature case studies. Specifically, the research looked into (a) the implementation status of national laws on trafficking and VAWC, in particular Republic Acts 9208 and 9262, by the LGUs and other State institutions; (b) factors affecting implementation of these laws (structural, socio-cultural or political in nature); and, (c) community and civil society responses to trafficking and VAWC in the selected areas. Three launchings were held. The third launching was aimed at popularizing the reports to national NGOs and governments institutions. Prof. Aurora Javate de Dios of Miriam College and the women sector representative to the Inter-Agency Council on Anti-Trafficking (IACAT), who gave the opening remarks during the launching at Bahay ni Isis emphasized the importance of the research. Founders of WeDpro including feminist artist Sandra B. Torrijos, report Editor Tezza Parel, and Ana Maria R. Nemenzo, former president of the Freedom from Debt Coalition, also graced the occasion and distributed copies of the report to the guests. The national relevance of the report is seen through two concrete examples:

  • One day after the launching in December 2010, Prof. De Dios sent word that IACAT officials conveyed interest in the report and asked for more copies. The IACAT is headed by the secretary of the Department of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.
  • On May 22nd, a member of the Technical Working Group (TWG) of the IACAT requested for information about the research results, and asked for a copy of the reports, as the TWG is doing its strategic planning.

One hundred (100) in soft copies (CD format) and one hundred (100) hard copies of the research report were also distributed among the project stakeholders, launching participants and guests, and the general public. The reports were also uploaded to WeDpro’s website (http://www.wedprophils.org), facilitating broader access.

Component 2 – Development of two community based theatre groups – Salamin (Mirror) in Angeles City and Maskara (Mask) in Olongapo City. The theater development component has started to spin off into direct organizing and advocacy for the issues of VAWC and trafficking among the youth, generating not only enthusiasm among the theater scholars but providing as well a venue for the urban poor youth to discuss their issues and a space of their own to develop productively. The core group has been planning to conduct their own auditions and expand beginning June 2011.

A series of workshops were conducted. Workshop topics included basic acting workshop, movements, visual arts, puppetry, mime, play writing and analysis, production mechanics, advance acting, “Theatre of the Oppressed”, and facilitators’/trainers training. The scholars had the opportunity to explore the entire production, through creativity, team work and improvisation while understanding the basics of theatre. This process helped the participant to overcome inhibitions and expand their creative boundaries through the discovery of individual capacities.

Twenty (28) activities were conducted for the period November 2010 to April 2011, generating an estimated four thousand one hundred thirty two (4,132) participants and audiences.

  • Eighteen (18) workshops and rehearsals were also conducted for the period reported.
  • Ten (10 performances were held.

Two major pieces were developed by the theater groups. For Salamin, the piece is entitled “Fatima.” For the Maskara group, their piece is called “Streetwalker.”

“Fatima” is the story of a young woman trafficked to Malaysia who was duped into prostitution by a syndicate. Fatima tried to escape but was caught and severely punished. In the end, she was successful in her attempt to escape and moved back to her hometown. A dance number celebrates the escape of Fatima. The seven-minute dance drama featured all the scholars from Angeles City, two of whom played music to accompany the performance.

“Streetwalker” is a nine-minute performance using puppets, which tells the story of a girl, Alina, who was pushed to become a streetwalker to help earn income for her family. Recruited by a pimp, Trina, Alina was sold to different men in a park called ‘Triangle’ (alluding to Triangle Park in the city center of Olongapo where streetwalkers can be found). A staff of a women’s group successfully pulled out Alina from prostitution and was given an opportunity to go back to school. Alina’s mother, who had been abusive of Alina, was also given livelihood trainings by the same NGO. The men who sexually exploited Alina were arrested and put behind bars. The puppets were made by the theater scholars.

Salamin and Maskara were given official recognition by the local governments and featured as performing guests during the flag ceremonies held at Angeles City Hall grounds on 4 April 2011 and on 21 March 2011 at the Olongapo City Hall, respectively. (See Annex 6) On 17-19 March 2011

Component 3 – The Youth Camp. The Red AVP Youth Camp was held in San Narciso, Zambales, where the theatre scholars were recognized for their successful participation in the project. The event also officially endorsed the theatre groups, Salamin and Maskara, to the local government units of Angeles and Olongapo through the Project Steering Committees as a sustainability strategy. WeDpro made it clear though that the theatre groups would continue to be linked with the organization as part of its Youth Empowerment Program.

Salamin and Maskara were officially recognized and introduced to the community by Mayors Pamintuan (April 4) and Gordon (March 21). In Angeles, a total of 500 participated while in Olongapo, a total one thousand (1,000) participated in the event bringing a total of one thousand five hundred (1,500).

Component 4 – Capacity Building Activities. The capacity building activities were completed and served as an opportunity for the skilling and knowledge building among the target groups. Five trainings, building on each one, were conducted.

  • Training 1: Gender and Development Mainstreaming, July 2010
  • Training 2: Human Rights, Gender and the Laws, August 2010
  • Training 3: Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights, September 2010
  • Training 4:  Gender, Rights, Environment and Governance, November 2010

At the end of the training, the Angeles participants drew up a commitment document called “The Creed…Our Commitment” which pledged to (a) work against anything that will violate the rights of every human person and protection of women and children; (b) serve and act as the voice of the people in their quest for good and responsible governance; and, (c) organize programs and activities that will help in the promotion of safe, clean and productive environment. The Olongapo participants on the other hand, issued a commitment document called “Call to Action” which stated, among other things, a resolution, to wit: “… it is resolved that the participants of this seminar on Gender, Rights and Governance will spearhead the implementation of all national environmental laws, in general and City programs, in particular, geared towards saving the environment”.

Component 5 – Development of a Trainer’s Pool. The final training was on “Leadership and Training of Trainers” held in February 2011. The resource persons discussed issues and concerns on mobilizing and organizing as GAD champions and advocates; engendering pro-people, gender-responsive good governance for peace and development; realities of LGUs and community aspirations; principles and processes of budgeting at the local and national levels; and, gender and rights as a training framework. The Trainers Pool which was the outcome of the fifth and last activity under the capacity building component were officially recognized by both the LGUs of Angeles and Olongapo, thus partnership with the local government of both cities were strengthened.

As the Trainers’ Pool has been established, eventually the beneficiaries will be the other groups including government employees and communities who are the final beneficiaries of the Action. Pilot trainings conducted by the Trainers Pool commenced a few weeks after they conducted their own training.  The pilot training in Olongapo was held on 30 March 2011; the Trainers Pool facilitated the first Gender Sensitivity Training for the LGU employees of City of Olongapo.

Component 6 – Development and Production of IEC Materials. A total of seventeen thousand four hundred seventy nine (17,479) materials were produced and distributed in Baguio City, Angeles City, Olongapo City and Metro Manila for the period November 2009 to April 2011. The materials consisted of primers, comics, flyers, project brochures, advocacy buttons, t-shirts, bags, among others. From November 2009 to October 2010, 15,579 were produced. The IEC materials were distributed to the PSC members and their colleagues, government agencies, academic institutions, and the general public. Spin-off activities started even before the formal end of the project on 8th of April 2011 have been generated, to cite, the theater performances in several venues; the conduct of a digital story telling workshops and subsequent community viewings, a scholarship for two theater scholars to the prestigious PETA summer workshop.

Component 7 – The Video. A 45-minute video was produced entitled “Reaping What We Sow”, released on April 8th and directed by freelance videographer-artist/writer JL Burgos. Two hundred (200) copies were produced and distributed to the project stakeholders and the general public in the cities of Angeles, Olongapo, Metro Manila and elsewhere; the video is also uploaded to the YouTube and other social networking sites. The video traces the history of the project through the reflections, lessons learned and gains of the project. Interspersed with the interviews are stills [photos] of the activities completed. Links to the video:

YouTube Upload Links

Component 8 – End-of-project Conference.  To acknowledge the support of the local government units of the cities of Angeles and Olongapo, the Project Steering Committees, community and youth leaders, and other stakeholder, WeDpro held a recognition ceremony on April 8, 2011 at ISO Complex, Ateneo De Manila University, Quezon City.

Commission on Human Rights Chairperson Loretta Ann Rosales, National Anti-Poverty Commission Assistant Secretary Lila Shahani and Vice Mayor of Quezon City Joy Belmonte addressed the 101-strong audience. Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan of Angeles City, in his prepared speech read by Heide Patio, head of the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO), shared the news about the establishment of the Anti-Violence against Women Desks in all the 33 barangays of Angeles City, as part of the Women HEAL Program of the city’s Gender and Development Unit. City Councilor Ellen Dabu of Olongapo City represented Mayor James Gordon. Everyone was unanimous in conveying their appreciation for the gains they had taken from the project and wished that the project could continue and expand to other barangays in the two pilot cities. Adelina S. Apostol, DSWD Region 3 Director, also shared her reflections about the success of the project and the challenges that lie ahead.

A representative from the European Union, Programme Officer Margarito Raynera, delivered his brief remarks on behalf of Ambassador of the European Union Delegation to the Philippines Guy Ledoux.

You can read or download the Red AVP project brief in Tagalog.

Partner Organizations:
Buklod Center, Inc. (Olongapo City) and Nagkakaisang Kababaihan ng Angeles (NAGKA) (Angeles City)

This project is made possible with the support of the European Union.