Tingog Party List Rep. Yedda Marie K. Romualdez on Monday lauded the joint effort of the House of Representatives, the Quezon City local government, and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) to help victims of gender-based violence, particularly House employees and their family members.
This developed as the chamber signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Quezon City Protection Center (QCPC) under the Office of Mayor Joy Belmonte, and the IBP-QC Chapter to provide legal, psychological, and shelter assistance to such victims at the Romualdez Hall of the House of Representatives.
Speaking on behalf of Speaker Martin G. Romualdez, Rep. Romualdez expressed gratitude for the signing of the historic agreement among the three parties.
“I am very much honored to witness and be a part of this historic signing of the Memorandum of Understanding by the House of Representatives, the Quezon City Local Government, and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines – Quezon City Chapter, to provide comprehensive and holistic support to House employees who are victims or survivors of gender-based violence,” Rep. Romualdez said.
“The Speaker and I express our full support for this undertaking. It fills me with pride to be a part of an institution that values the welfare of its employees and ensures that they receive the best care and support when they need it the most,” she added.
She noted that by bringing together their resources, the parties are creating a powerful network to provide timely intervention for House employees and their children who have suffered or are still suffering from the effects of violence and abuse.
“I am confident that this MOU will be the foundation for a very strong partnership among the House, the Quezon City Local Government, and the IBP in addressing and preventing gender-based violence,” Romualdez said.
She also acknowledged the key people who worked hard to forge the tripartite agreement, including BHW Party List Rep. Angelica Co, Chairperson of the Committee on Welfare of Children; Laguna 1st District Rep. Lourdes Matibag, Senior Vice-Chairperson of the Committee on Women and Gender Equality; Quezon City Councilor Eleanor “Doc Ellie” Juan, House Secretary General Reginald Velasco, Atty. Annalou Nachura, Deputy Secretary General of the House Legal Affairs Department; Atty. Michael Atanante, President of the IBP QC Chapter; and Atty. Melissa Encanto-Tagarda, incoming President of IBP-QC.
The MOU was signed on behalf of the House by Velasco, Atty. Atanante for IBP-QC Chapter and Councilor Juan for the QCPC.
Under the MOU, the House would provide its employees and their children who are victims of gender-based violence safe and supportive work environment and culture, access to hotlines and other crisis resources, psychological and psychiatric counseling and therapy, along with medical and healthcare services, among others.
The IBP QC-Chapter will take care of the necessary legal assistance, while the QCPC will provide safe and secure emergency shelter services as well as programs for the healing, recovery, rehabilitation, and reintegration of the victims.
“Today’s (Monday) ceremonial signing stands as another clear statement that the House of Representatives does not only talk and make policy – we also walk the talk, and act as needed, providing immediate solutions to the problems at hand, always in the best interests of the Filipino people,” Speaker Romualdez said in his message for the MOU signing.
“Let me assure everyone now: so long as I am Speaker, the House of Representatives shall remain a safe workspace for everyone,” he added.
Likewise, he noted that ahead lies the greater challenge of establishing a society “where the dignity of every person is valued, where full respect for human rights is guaranteed and where there is no more victim of violence of any kind.”
“Let us not be mere spectators. Let us be active partners in bringing about a society where everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, has equality, security, and safety not only in private, but also on the streets, public spaces, online, workplaces, and educational and training institutions, and in all areas of human interaction. Together, we can do this,” Speaker Romualdez said.