Good news to all disadvantaged and abused rural women. The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) issued clear guidelines on ensuring the equal rights of women with men in the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) in the countryside.
DAR Secretary Gil de los Reyes issued Administrative Order No. 1, series of 2011, which establishes a Gender and Development (GAD) program committed to promote women’s welfare and to ensure that support services are extended equally between female and male beneficiaries.
Undersecretary Rosalina Bistoyong, National Chairperson of the GAD Steering Committee, said that one of the program’s major goals is to put an end to discriminatory acts against women.
“Women, especially those in the countryside are often overlooked, hardly given access to credit, treated second fiddles to husbands and seldom accorded recognition for their roles in the family and in the community. And worst, they are also subjected to physical abuses!” added Bistoyong.
To address these, the GAD program has established women’s desks in all agrarian reform communities (ARCs) nationwide where women can register their complaints and grievances.
The women’s desk will be tasked to formulate and implement programs and activities related to the protection and promotion of women’s rights provided for under the Republic Act 9700 or CARPer.
Among the programs and activities to be pursued by the GAD program include the establishment of community-based enterprises and the conduct of livelihood seminars to enable women to rediscover their hidden talents they could exploit to earn extra income and be a major partner in rural development.
Moreover, Bistoyong said, the program will intensify its information drive to raise awareness about rural women in the country “who are often overlooked, yet carry the multiple burden of raising the family and managing its financial resources, while working in the farm and selling the produce.”
“The DAR is exhausting all of its resources to conduct seminars and workshops nationwide about GAD. We expect that before the CARPer law expires in 2014, women will be equal with men in building the rural community,” Bistoyong added. Pinky, PAS-DAR