BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on third and final reading a proposed ordinance providing guidelines in the establishment of Violence Against Women and their Children (VAWC) desk in the city’s 128 barangays.
The ordinance authored by all members of the local legislative body stated that the Punong Barangay concerned shall designate an area within the barangay hall for the VAWC desk and that he or she shall provide for the necessary furniture and fixtures such as, but not limited to, tables, chairs, separate filing cabinet and log book for record keeping of cases.
Likewise, the Punong Barangays shall ensure the confidentiality of the case, and privacy and safety of the victim survivor.
The ordinance added the Punong Barangay concerned shall designate a VAWC desk person who is trained in gender sensitive handling of cases; preferably a woman barangay kagawad or woman barangay tanod and in cases where there are no trained personnel, ensure that the person assigned shall undergo basic gender sensitivity training and orientation on anti-VAWC laws.
Under the proposed ordinance, the VAWC desk shall respond to gender-based violence cases brought to the barangay; record the number of gender-based violence handled by the barangay and submit a quarterly report on all VAWC cases to the DILG City field office and to the City Social Welfare and Development Office; keep VAWC case records confidential and secured, and ensure that only authorized personnel can access it; assist VAWC victims in securing barangay protection order and access necessary services; develop the barangay’s gender responsive plan in addressing gender-based violence, including support services, capacity building and referral system; coordinate and refer VAWs to government agencies concerned, non-government organizations, institutions and other service providers as necessary; address other forms of abuse committed against women, especially senior citizens, women with disabilities and other marginalized groups; lead advocacies on the elimination of VAWC in the community and perform other related functions as may be assigned.
The VAWC protocol stipulated that a VAWC victim or survivor should be accompanied by someone to the barangay herself goes to the barangay; assess the situation and get initial information to determine the task on hand and if immediate medical attention is needed; after the victim has stabilized, assist the Punong Barangay or barangay kagawad in the conduct of an investigation in a gender-sensitive and non-judgemental manger in a language understood by her; inform her of her rights and the remedies available and the processes involved particularly in relation to the barangay protection order; record the incident using the national VAWC documentation system barangay form; if victim or survivor desires to be in a safe shelter, seek the assistance of the other barangay officials, barangay tanods or the police in getting her belongings and refer to a shelter, women’s center or to the City Social Welfare and Development Office; assist the victim survivor file for a temporary protection order or permanent protection order with the nearest family court within 24 hours after the issuance of the order if the victim or survivor so desires or she applies for a higher order and report the incident within 4 hours to the PNP or the City Social Welfare and Development office.
By Dexter A. See