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CHR Soccsksargen: Addressing existing gaps and challenges

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Region XII reports that a total of 3,319 participants completed and attended their human rights education and information activities, of which 1,820 are males, 1,483 are females, and 16 are members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato (PIA) -- The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in the Soccsksargen (Region XII) has established itself as a firm defender of statutory and constitutional laws, playing a pivotal role in upholding the principles of justice and equality.

In an era marked by evolving challenges and persistent gaps in human rights protection, CHR Soccsksargen is a resolute and committed advocate, meticulously addressing existing issues while dedicating itself to safeguarding human rights victims and marginalized individuals in the region. 

Regional Human Rights Situationer Report

CHR XII OIC Regional Director Atty. Keysie Gomez shared updates on various human rights situations in the region, including programs for protecting and promoting human rights and providing prompt and accessible service to its clients, as encapsualted in the CHR's “Regional Human Rights Situationer Report for January–June 2023.” 

Gomez said the report indicated that “throughout the first semester of 2023, the region encountered significant human rights issues and cases."

CHR XII is focused on achieving its new battle cry, “CHR ng Lahat: Naglilingkod Maging Sino Ka Man," specifically tailored to protect the rights of all, by implementing strong human rights protection, promotion, prevention, and policy advisory initiatives, as well as providing prompt and accessible service to its clients.

CHR Soccsksargen OIC Regional Director Atty. Keysie Gomez is guest at PIA XII's Performing & Informing online program, where she highlighted the importance of continuous advocacy, policy improvement, and the allocation of resources to protect and promote the rights of all individuals, especially those in marginalized and vulnerable situations.

Gender-Based Violence Cases

From January to June 2023, the region docketed nine cases and complaints involving abuses against women and the LGBTQIA+. The cases and/or complaints include violations of the R.A. 9262, known as the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act; the R.A. 11313, also known as the Safe Spaces Act; and killings and physical injuries due to bombing.

“It is alarming na meron pa rin pong mga nangyayaring violence against women despite na marami na po tayong mga batas na nag-aadress sa mga isyung ito nangyayari pa rin po,” Atty. Gomez said.

CHR XII has also rendered legal assistance to 39 women clients, with its Legal Division resolving 11 cases of women’s rights violations and one case concerning a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, including the approval of three financial grants to women survivors.

Gomez said that CHR is committed to its mandate of protecting, promoting, and pursuing gender equality for women, girls, and LGBTQIA+ across the region.

Monitoring of Barangay VAW (violence against women) Desks

The agency has also monitored the barangay VAW desks to check their functionality in a random manner, particularly in four barangays in the Municipality of Banisilan and three barangays in the Municipality of Alamada, both in Cotabato Province, from January to June 2023.

The selection was essentially based on the observations, reports, and recommendations received through the agency’s internal and external partners. The data were gathered with the use of the assessment form for monitoring the functionality of the barangay VAW desk.

Gomez said the findings of the monitoring team suggested that policies on establishing the barangay VAW desks were properly enforced. However, some showed the lack of facilities, equipment, and resources needed to address gender-based violence cases properly and efficiently.

In addition, VAW desk officers’ educational background, lack of training, and insufficient orientation on VAW-related laws and policies limit their capacity to implement their responsibilities effectively. There was also no clear local system for the orientation of the roles and responsibilities of the desk officers, including the lack of proper fund allocation for the concerned barangays to ensure the full functionality of VAW desks.

Monitoring the Situation of Solo Parents

Despite the challenges, Soccsksargen was still fortunate to have conducted the first focus group discussion (FGD) and key informant interview (KII) with the concerned regional government agencies and solo parents from the different cities and municipalities in the region.

The FGD was attended by seven service providers from the Office of the Provincial and City Social Welfare and Development of South Cotabato and Koronadal City, the Office of the Sangguniang Bayan of Koronadal City Committee on Social Service, the Department of Interior and Local Government XII, the Solo Parent Federation, and the Solo Parent Workers of Barangays Rotonda and Avancena in Koronadal City, while the KII was attended by four male and nine female solo parents coming from the different cities and municipalities in the region.

During this activity, the regional president of the Solo Parent Federation also shared the issues, concerns, and challenges experienced by solo parents, including good practices.

The interviews with the solo parents also established that they face multiple struggles ranging from work, finances, child-rearing, enduring society’s stigma against single parents, and the inaccessibility of government benefits.

Their struggle for financial security led to a challenging work environment they had to endure in addition to the economic challenges they faced as a result of being the lone provider for the family.

Appeal of Solo Parents 

As a result of the mentioned activities, the solo parents appealed for the government's immediate response to address their struggles and needs, particularly the proper and full implementation of the R.A. 8972, or the Solo Parents Welfare Act of 2000, which allows them to avail of the benefits provided for by the law.

The report highlights the commendable efforts of the CHR XII, in addressing significant human rights issues, particularly concerning civil rights, despite facing challenges due to staffing shortages.

CHR XII's proactive measures, including education, promotion, and advocacy initiatives, as well as the dissemination of policy advisories, showcase its commitment to upholding human rights principles and ensuring the well-being and dignity of all individuals within its jurisdiction. (ACA - PIA Region 12)

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Aida Agad


Region 12

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