Cotabato City — “Babae ka! Hindi ‘Babae lang’!” enthused Bangsamoro Women Commission (BWC) Chairperson Bainon Karon in her 4th State of the Bangsamoro Women Address (SOBWA). This is a cry that she hopes will break the stereotypes, and apparent misconception, that Islamic governments treat women like second-class citizens.
Karon’s address was the kick-off to an 18-day government sponsored campaign to end violence against women (VAW). She likewise shared achievements of the BWC and how it has been steadfast in mainstreaming gender and development (GAD) in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
“On raising awareness and building capacities of planners, policy, and decision-makers on gender and development, I am happy to share that since 2019 to present, the BWC has organized and conducted a series of training and workshops for all the ministries and offices on gender and development,” Karon said.
She also pointed out how the COVID-19 pandemic did little to hamper their progress over the past two years because ‘our ministries, offices, and agencies have hired competent people to do the job.’
To date, 29 ministries, offices, and agencies have been oriented and activated on basic GAD concepts, legal imperatives, gender-responsive policy-making and budgeting, gender in Islam, preparation of GAD plans and budgets, and submission of GAD accomplishment reports including coaching and mentoring.
The BWC is also working together with different civil society organizations to provide education about practical gender concepts, rights of men and women in Islam, and the many legal protections that women and young girls have against all forms of violence.
Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim, in a video message during the kick-off ceremonies, expressed his congratulations, and reinforced the Bangsamoro Government’s support and recognition for the crucial contribution of women in strengthening communities, raising and nurturing families, and building nations.
“I affirm that women should be given extra protection,” said Ebrahim. “I applaud the Bangsamoro Women Commission for organizing this event that demonstrates the Bangsamoro government’s sincerity in defending the rights and welfare of Bangsamoro women and empowering them to lead and protect themselves from various forms of abuse,” he concluded.