At the National GAD Conference in Baguio City last week, one of the directives that Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz immediately issued was for the transfer of the gender and development (GAD) planning and implementation from DOLE's Planning Service to the Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns.
"From here on, the BWSC shall be the GAD program manager. All DOLE reporting units shall submit to BWSC their reformulated programs, projects, and activities under the DOLE Planning Tool with the necessary gender dimensions. Our mid-year planning assessment in the second week of July will be the proper venue to finalize and approve the GAD plan of action, using convergence as a strategy, with BWSC as the lead," said Baldoz in her keynote address at the Conference.
She also instructed the DOLE's Human Resource Development Service to come up with a pool of in-house resource persons on GAD to handle the training of DOLE officials and employees. To the Finance Management Service, Baldoz said it must develop a database on the DOLE gender budget to complement the sex-disaggregated data on labor and employment programs that the DOLE has been generating. And to the Planning Service, for it to develop a DOLE-WIDE, user-friendly GAD monitoring and evaluation system, including a GAD page in the DOLE website that would feature gender-related stories and accomplishments/milestones.
The GAD conference, participated in by DOLE regional directors, heads of bureaus and services, DOLE partners, and GAD experts, sought to focus on policy and operational issues on gender and development, not only for DOLE programs for its personnel but also for DOLE clients, the workers and employers.
"This gathering shall, other than clarifying key concepts on gender quality in the workplace, ensure that proposed recommendations should be mainstreamed into a results-based GAD Action Plan 2014-2016 as part of the programs, projects and activities under the DOLE Planning Tool," Baldoz said.
She explained that the DOLE's GAD initiatives must conform to global and national policy framework to include, among others, the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW); Philippine Plan for Gender and Development for 1995-2025; Beijing Platform for Action; Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the Millennium Development Goals, the WEDGE (Women's Empowerment, Development and Gender Equity Plan, 2013-2016), and COA Circular 2014-0011.
In her address, she outlined the DOLE's accomplishments in response to the recommendations in the ILO-supported 2011 Participatory Gender Audit by DOLE which assessed the quality of gender mainstreaming in DOLE programs for its personnel and clients.
"I was personally active in this audit if only to convey the priority that I am giving to the program as a woman Secretary of Labor.
The audit provided 12-point key recommendations on gender mainstreaming.
Baldoz said the DOLE has undertaken several GAD capacity-building initiatives were since the audit.
"Gender sensitivity training is now integral to the induction course for all new employees of the Department. It also forms part of the intensive training for officials and employees lined up for deployment either as labor attaches, welfare officers, and administrative staff to the DOLE's 36 overseas posts.
Baldoz said the DOLE also ensures that the well-being of its people is taken cared of through vaccinations and other health-related support for both its male and female employees consistent with the recommendations on work-life balance found in the audit.
"In compliance with the Magna Carta of Women, we have been closely monitoring the DOLE's placement of women in third-level positions so that we achieve an occupancy rate of 50 percent. As of December 2013, we have achieved a placement rate of women in third-level positions at 44 percent.
Still on placement of officials and employees, Baldoz said she had signed several issuances seeking to ensure that women OFWs in the Middle East are adequately given gender-sensitive services at our POLOs, given the demographics of OFWs in these areas and as a response to address the sex-for-flight cases against POLO offices.
"We have been deploying more women labor attaches, welfare officers, and administrative staff to these Posts, and are ensuring that appropriately-trained 'house mothers' are assigned at the Migrant Workers Resource Center," she said.
Admitting that much remains to be done, Baldoz said the DOLE need to further capacitate its officials and employees for the department to achieve its stated goals of gender mainstreaming both in its internal and external environments.