To highlight the annual 18-day (Nov. 25 to Dec. 12) campaign to end violence against women, a forum on the role of media and films in promoting non-discriminatory and non-derogatory portrayal of women in media, films and advertisements was held in Malacanang last Wednesday, December 8.
The forum was sponsored by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), in cooperation with the Movie and Television ratings and Classigication Board (MTRCB), the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) and the Gender Equality Committee.
Resource speakers included film directors Laurice Guillen and Joyce Bernal, TV-radio personalities Boy Abunda and Karen Davila and film distributor Selina Gecolea. Kara David acted as moderator.
Secretary Herminio B. Coloma of the PCOO explained that the goal of the forum is “to raise awareness of media practitioners on how to tackle gender issues and violence against women cases in media, films and advertisements. He stressed that the theme of the forum is Magna Carta ni Pinay, Gawing Tunay: “Karahasan sa kababaihan, wakasan!”
Coloma said that since media influence has grown exponentially with the advancement of technology, it is alarming to note that negative portrayal of women and other gender issues have abounded in the local media, as well as films and advertisements for a long time.
PCW Executive Director Emmeline Verzosa said that “of all the media distribution channels, broadcast is the most powerful in shaping the country’s cultural, social and economic growth and development and we are saddened by reports of sexist and violence provoking remarks over the air waves.”
MTRCB Chairman Mary Grace Poe-Llamanzares vowed to backstop the efforts of government, media and the women and gender advocates in ending violence against women. She said: “Though we might not even see the full impact or effect of our projects today, I am certain that all of us are doing our own share in this advocacy knowing and hoping that ten to twenty years from now, our children will no longer have to worry about being discriminated upon and portrayed negatively in television, radio, film and advertisements.”
Republic Act No. 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women is a comprehensive woman’s rights law that seeks to eliminate discrimination against women by recognizing, protecting, fulfilling and promoting the rights of Filipino women, specially those in the marginalized sectors.
With the Magna Carta of Women, the government agencies and local government units are considered as the primary implementing sectors of the law, faced with the greater challenge of ensuring that the rights and opportunities of Filipino women are enhanced and carried out.
Under RA 9710, the PCOO is mandated to be the lead agency in the implementation of gender equality development programs in government with respect to media.
The PCOO has so far convened the gender equality committee comprising public and private agencies for the implementation of gender equality and development programs and projects.
Aside from the PCOO, PCW and MTRCB, the gender equality committee also includes the National Telecommunations Commission (NTC), the Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP), the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), the Optical Media Board (OMB) and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).
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