MANILA, March 7 (PNA) -- The military, police force and other policy-making bodies need more women, Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara said Tuesday urging the government to intensify programs that promote the participation and equitable representation of women.
"We call on all government agencies to take proactive steps to capacitate women employees to strengthen their qualifications and performance to compete for third-level positions," Angara said.
"Competence and work experience should be main considerations for promotions and top positions, not gender," he added.
Angara made this call noting that data from the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) showed that the number of female cadets is limited to not more than 5 percent.
The senator also congratulated Cadet First Class Rovi Martinez who topped this year's PMA graduating cadets, and the other seven female cadets who landed in the top 10.
"They are proof that it is not only men who can excel in this. That is why we should make sure that we give equal opportunities to serve military," Angara said.
Data from the Philippine National Police (PNP) showed that female police officers compose 18 percent or 25,862 of the 168,897 police personnel.
Meanwhile, data from the Civil Service Commission showed that while there are more female than male of the total 1.86 million government workforce, the men still outnumber the women in top level or decision-making positions.
Of the 2,013 top level positions, 1,135 slots or 56 percent are filled by male while 878 or 44 percent are female. The top or third level positions include the Undersecretary, Assistant Secretary, Bureau Director, Assistant Bureau Director, Regional Director, Assistant Regional Director, Chief of Department Service and other officers of equivalent rank, all of whom are appointed by the President.
Angara, during his days in the Lower House, was one of the authors of the Magna Carta of Women or Republic Act 9710 that seeks to eliminate discrimination by recognizing and protecting the rights of Filipinas.
In celebration of National Women's Month, he noted a provision in the Magna Carta's implementing rules and regulations that seeks to increase the quota to 20 percent for female admission into schools and institutions in the military and police.
The Magna Carta further states that women in the military and police force shall be accorded the same promotional privileges and opportunities as men, including pay increases, additional remunerations and benefits, and awards based on their competency and quality of performance.
Apart from equal employment opportunities, Angara stressed that the Magna Carta of Women mandates the government to ensure that women are provided with equal access to formal sources of credit and capital, equal share to the produce of farms and aquatic resources, livelihood opportunities for returning women migrant workers through entrepreneurship development, among others.
Angara said the number of women in third level or supervisory positions in government must be increased to achieve a 50-50 gender balance as mandated under RA 9710.
He said that it has been almost eight years since the comprehensive women's rights law was enacted and yet, gender gap in economic and political participation persists.
"Gains have definitely been made but there's still more that we can do to finally close this gap and fully realize women's role as agents and beneficiaries of development," Angara said.(PNA) JBP/AZER N. PARROCHA