WASHINGTON, D.C.– A public forum on gender-based violence was held at the Philippine Embassy Chancery Annex on Dec. 1, as part of the activities for the 18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women (VAW).
The forum featured renowned speakers from the DC Filipino-American community, including Atty. Darlene Pajarito, a Philippine National Trafficking In Persons (TIP) Specialist and current Fulbright Scholar under the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program; Jennifer Hona-Davis, a Senior Paralegal of the Law Offices of Valera and Associates; and Atty. Angela Librado-Trinidad, Philippine Labor Attaché and Women’s Rights Advocate.
Pajarito provided an in-depth look into human trafficking in the context of gender-based violence, discussing the Philippine experience and the country’s anti-trafficking initiatives.
Hona-Davis focused on U.S. law, particularly the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), and violence against immigrant women including its indicators, forms, and warning signs. She also provided information on non-legal and legal services that are available to victims-survivors of VAW.
At the event the Philippine Embassy also launched its VAW desk with the principal tasks of immediately attending to victims of VAW, working with various institutions in providing psychological and medical help, maintaining a database of reported cases and reporting them to the appropriate agencies in the Philippines, and giving advice on possible legal courses of action under U.S. law.
“We see the VAW desk as a quick response mechanism. We are happy that organizations such as the Migrant Heritage Commission (MHC) and other organizations will be able to help in terms of the immediate needs of all these victims,” Labor Attaché Librado-Trinidad emphasized.
“Our focus is to continue empowering our women to prevent abuses and human trafficking through strong partnerships,” Pajarito said.
“With the launching of the VAW desk at the Philippine Embassy, we believe it can create a coordinated community response to domestic violence perpetrated against our kababayans. Community collaboration has been an essential part of both prevention and intervention. Our ultimate goal is to help improve and protect the well-being and safety of women in the United States,” Ms. Hona-Davis added.
All three speakers engaged the audience in a Q&A session after their respective presentations.
Prior to the forum, the Philippine Embassy through its Gender and Development (GAD) program, launched the campaign during the flag-raising ceremony on Nov. 25. On Nov. 28, the GAD team conducted a seminar on the Philippines’ RA 9262 or the Violence Against Women and their Children law, and RA 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women.
The 18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women (VAW) is observed annually from November 25 to December 12 to raise awareness among all stakeholders that VAW is a public issue of national concern. It supports the Philippine Government’s goal of protecting the human rights of women.
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