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External Assessment of Violence Against Women (VAW) Centers

The final evaluation of the 6th Country Programme was conducted in 2010 and the consultancy team documented several challenges like the lack of quality assurance of the VAW centers and competencies of the providers and low utilization of VAW centers especially among women in indigenous communities and the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The external assessment of VAW centers has been undertaken to validate the LGU reports in terms of functionality level and interventions offered and to gather critical inputs to the strategic design and implementation of the Gender component under the 7thCountry Programme (2012-2016).

On 15 August 2011, the Final Report on the External Assessment of Violence Against Women (VAW) Centers (UNFPA/PHL/11/02b), was submitted by WeDpro, Inc. to UNFPA. It was pointed out that the recommendations emanating from the external assessment should be able to address the issue of sustaining the UNFPA support to its partners in the 10 areas of the country, plus the support to the City of Olongapo. The report included the provinces of Lanao del Sur (with the municipalities of Marantao, Bubong and Kapatagan as field areas); Bohol (with Tagbilaran, Carmen, Ubay and Talibon as field areas); and Ifugao (with Asipulo and Lagawe as field areas; the municipality of Tinoc was not visited due to several constraining factors). Phase 1 specifically aimed to address the two-pronged objectives of the assessment, to wit:

  • Determine the compliance of the VAW Centers using particularly DILG’s Performance Standards and Assessment Tools (PSATs) for Services Addressing VAW in the Philippines;
  • Explore the community leaders’ and members’ attitudes, value system, and perceptions about the issue of VAW and VAW Center intervention programs and service procedures;
  • Develop and recommend sustainability strategies in conjunction with the UNFPA’s 7thCountry Programme.

Phase 2 (conducted in late 2011 to January 2012) addresses the need to expand the external assessment as a key input for the 7th Country Programme which is expected to commence in January 2012. Thus, the present report takes off from Phase 1 to complete the assessment of VAW centers it had supported in the 6thCountry Programme. The proposal includes the provinces of Masbate (municipalities of Dimasalang, Palanas and Placer); Eastern Samar (municipalities of Llorente, Maydolong and Sulat); Mountain Province (municipalities of Bontoc, Paracelis and Sagada); Sultan Kudarat (municipalities of Isulan, Lebak and Sen. Ninoy Aquino); Maguindanao (municipalities of Ampatuan, Upi and Sharif Aguak) and the highly urbanizing (HUC) Olongapo City. Tawi-tawi and Sulu were initially considered but due to worsening security-related issues, these two provinces were eventually dropped from the list of research sites.

Five linked objectives were set for Phase 2, namely:

  • To determine the compliance of the VAW centers with the Performance Standards in the implementation of Psychosocial services to VAW Survivors in center and residential facilities as laid out in Administrative Order No. 04 series of 2006 ;
  • To explore the community leaders’ and members’ attitudes, value system, and perceptions about the issue of violence against women and VAW center intervention programs and service procedures.
  • To link the assessment findings with existing literature such as the National Demographic & Health Survey 2008; Joint Country Gender Assessment in the Philippines 2008; UNFPA 6th Country Programme Baseline and Endline Surveys; and UNFPA 6thCountry Programme Evaluation Report;
  • To describe emerging good practices in terms of supply-and-demand-side interventions to address VAW; and,
  • To provide concrete recommendations to enhance functionality and sustainability of existing VAW centers and calibrate support to VAW centers for the 7thCountry Programme (2012-2016) given the provisions of the Magna Carta of Women and the Philippines’ Middle Income Country status.


Literature review of selected key documents and reports on VAW in the Philippines. The literature review was aimed at linking the assessment findings with existing literature such as the National Demographic & Health Survey 2008; Joint Country Gender Assessment in the Philippines 2008; UNFPA 6th Country Programme Baseline and Endline Surveys; and UNFPA 6thCountry Programme Evaluation Report, and other relevant materials, such as publications from research studies done by non-government organizations and academic institutions. It was also intended to provide a set of policy recommendations based on the gaps and challenges as gleaned from the materials and the findings from the present research.

Development of FGD discussion points and KII guides. The research teams developed a guide following the objectives of the research.

Conduct of FGDs (Focus Group Discussions). The provinces of Masbate and Eastern Samar had the most number of participants and the province of Maguindanao had the least number of participants. The Maguindanao provincial report details the explanation for the low level of participation.

Conduct of KIIs (Key Informant Interviews) with 15 service providers/implementers to gather information revolving on three major themes: traditional beliefs about VAWC; and, regional or ethnic factors that affect the effective implementation of VAWC-related laws (i.e., RA 9262).

PSATs self-assessment by key service implementers. The DILG “Performance Standards and Assessment Tool (PSAT) for Violence against Women-related services of local government units” produced by the DILG, National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW, now called Philippine Commission of Women or (PCW) and UNFPA (2008) has four parts (Part 1, Overview; Part 2, The Performance Standards; Part 3, The Assessment Tool; and, Part 4, The Baseline Report) provides the context and parameters of the objective related to the PSATs. The publication states that “The [information] package consists of five sets of documents for each of the service categories, represented by the government agency tasked primarily to render such type of service…” with the “DILG and the LGUs for anti-VAW services at the barangay, municipal, city and provincial levels.” (DILG services of local government units, 2008, page 1). As designed, the decision to revalidate the self-administered PSAT tool by the research teams was a methodology necessary as part of the external assessment, and hence became a core basis for determining the functionality of the UNFPA-supported VAW centers in the six areas covered by the present research.

On the whole, many respondents found the facility audit exercise difficult. The report outlines the reasons for this.

Validation of the PSATs self-assessment. As designed by the research team, all PSAT forms should have reached the target respondents in advance to enable them to fully appreciate the tool and review their knowledge and experience in their participation to the implementation of the VAW program. Thereafter, field researchers will validate their responses in combination with first, actual inspection of the facilities, services, and data/documents, and second, KIIs and FGDs.

Also explored was the implementation of Republic Act 7192 called the Women in Development and Nation Building Act which set up the policy for Gender and Development mainstreaming in all government units and agencies. From the findings, the GAD Plans shared with the research teams show that the understanding of RA 7192 and the subsequent issuances from NEDA, Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) and Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the oversight national agencies on GAD mainstreaming, is faulty or skewed. Non-GAD mainstreaming programs, activities and projects or Program, Activities, Project (PAPS) are charged to GAD mainstreaming allocations, and the 5% intended allocations for GAD mainstreaming often is not obligated in government budgets.

All research participants were administered the Consent and Confidentiality Form. Some of the participants were interviewed more than once in several capacities and during one or more of the activities?focus group discussion (FGD), key informant interview and as service implementer for the facility audit using the PSAT.

A set of detailed recommendations were forwarded, including those that came from an exhaustive Literature Review. Those recommendations included the following areas: Policy development; Policy implementation; Services; Capacity building; Data collection; Advocacy; Legal reform; among others.

The report also explored the linking of the literature review with field assessments, with specific recommendations on VAW Links with RH and Poverty;  Anti-VAWC Programs, Projects, Tool Guides and Best Practices; Utilization of the VAWC Centers; Information, Education and Communication (IEC) Materials; Culture and Tradition; Community Organizing; Laws and the Justice System; Program Capacity-Building, Organization and Management; and, Networking.

One of the key conclusions of the report, reflecting Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the research, is summed up in the following manner.  “In spite of the strong policy and legal framework for fighting gender-based violence in the Philippines, the implementation of policies is patchy and slow. The legal and policy framework has thus not delivered the intended benefits for women as extensively and effectively as hoped. This is one of the many paradoxes amid promise in the country.” (ADB, CIDA, EC, NCRFW, UNICEF, UNIFEM, and UNFPA, 2008)

The full report maybe obtained from UNFPA-Philippines.