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Manila –In line with the 18-Day Campaign Towards Ending Violence Against Women, the Gender and Development (GAD) Committee of the Institute for Labor Studies successfully organized a two-day forum last December 11-12 at the Labor Governance Learning Center.

The first day saw a Forum on Ending Gender-Based Violence, which was divided into three key areas: Recognize, Speak Up, and Fight Back. Opening Remarks was delivered by Acting Deputy Executive Director III Paulina Kim C. Pacete. The morning session started with the “Overview of Gender-Based Violence in the Philippines,” by Ms. Luz Frances Chua, a Gender and Development (GAD) expert and a member of the Philippines Commission on Women (PCW) GAD Resource Pool. To encourage all audiences to speak up against violence, this was followed by a discussion of two GAD centered legislations: SOGIE Equality Bill by Atty. Claire de Leon, Executive Director of Babaylanes, Inc., and Republic Act 11313, otherwise known as the “Bawal Bastos Law,” delivered by Atty.Leizl Parajas, Consultant from the Center for Reproductive Rights.

The afternoon session enabled participants to learn Self Defense 101 conducted by certified Filipino Martial Arts instructors Mr. Raymond Martin Bonoan-Rivera and Ms. Gracelyn Bulalacao Atun.

The 2nd day of the event focused on two core issues: Social Pension and Mental Health. The morning session started with a recap of Day 1 and bridged this with the theme: “Growing Old with Dignity: From Social Pension to Social Care for the Elderly in the Philippines.” A discussion on the “State of Social Protection for the Elderly and Feasibility of Universal Social Protection in the Philippines” was discussed by Emily N. Beredico, Executive Director of Coalition for the Services for the Elderly, Inc. while the topic “Beyond Pension: Expanding State Support for Retirement Homes for the Elderly” was presented by Rosmel O. Daria, Social Welfare Officer II from the Golden Reception and Action Center for the Elderly and Other Special Cases.

The two-day event was capped off with a “Tara, UsapTayo: A Technical Learning Session on Philippine Mental Health Law,” which began with a “mindfulness” exercise. This was followed by a lecture on “Mental Health x Work: An Overview of Mental Health Law in the Philippines,” by Dr. Raymond John Naguit from the Youth for Mental Health Coalition, and a very timely discussion on “Helping the Helpers: Session on Mental Health Debriefing and Self-Care,” by Registered Psychometrician Jun Angelo Sunglao, MA.

The Closing Remarks was delivered by Acting Executive Director Maria Isabel D. Artajo, who also commended members namely ILS GAD WWRD Labor and Employment Officer III Malorie Joy O. Mones, for their diligence and hardwork in putting together the event which holistically addressed and put to light current GAD issues to open pathways for discussion and solution implementation.