Philippine Senate to Pass Magna Carta for Women






20 August 2008

A Magna Carta for Women is nearing passage in both the Philippine House of Representatives and Senate. The Magna Carta, House Bill (HB) 4273/Senate Bill 2396 will institutionally solidify gender provisions in the nationís policy framework. It is currently pending for a second reading in the Senate.

Senator Loren Legarda oversaw the consolidation of nine separate bills that made up the Magna Carta, which each bill having been written by a group of female and male senators. The Magna Carta is in direct compliance of the UN Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, or CEDAW.

The Magna Carta includes not only recognition and the legalization of Womenís Rights, but also mechanisms for funding and enforcement. Enforcement includes the setting up of a gender ombudsman under the Philippine Commission on Human Rights.

The Magna Carta also aims to repeal or revise existing discriminatory laws. This includes Philippine Family Code which gives priority to a husbandís decision making power in matters dealing with connubial property. It will also introduce new features that are not in current Philippine law, such as a non-derogatory portrayal of women in the media and equal access to information.

Special attention in the Magna Carta is given to poor and marginalized women, whose needs are addressed in several areas including access to property rights and credit, scholarships, and assistance in during times of difficulty.

Until the Magna Carta of Women is passed in the Philippines, many rights will not be secured institutionally.

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