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Philippine Commission on Women

Formerly known as the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW), the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) serves as the voice for Filipino women. The organization performs as the main body, which relay gender and feminist concerns to the Philippine government. The PCW is the main advocate of gender equality and women empowerment in the Philippines.[1]

The PCW was first established on January 7, 1975 upon the passing of Presidential Decree No. 633. The PCW acted as the main consultant of the President regarding matters concerning the welfare of women in the country.

Its main priorities during that time were as follows:

  • Organizing women into a nationwide movement called "Balikatan sa Kaunlaran" (or shoulder-to-shoulder in development) (This organization is now registered as an independent women's organization.)
  • Conducting policy studies and lobbying for the issuance of executive and legislative measures concerning women
  • Establishing a clearinghouse and information center on women
  • Monitoring the implementation of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

After the Martial Law, the new administration ordered for a change in the Constitution, which led the NCRFW to revise its platform and ultimately, decide to prioritize the "mainstreaming [of] women’s concerns in policy making, planning, and programming of all government agencies." The organization's main concern now is not to be merely an adviser to the President, but to voice out the concerns of Filipino women in society, spearhead the creation of laws that support the welfare of women, and make sure that all women that work not only in government agencies, but also in the whole Philippines, get the rightful and equal treatment as men do.

The establishment of the gender equality principle in the 1987 Philippine Constitution indicated that the concern for the welfare of women rose as one of the top priorities of the government. Only two years after the integration of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, the very first Philippine Development Plan for Women (PDPW) - which would go on for 3 years (1989-1992) - was established through Executive Order No. 348. This was followed by the passing of RA 7192, also known as the Women in Nation-Building Act. The Women in Nation Building Act advocates for the equal treatment of women and men in Philippine society. It likewise promotes the equal importance of women in the building of the Philippine nation.

As mentioned earlier, the NCRFW kept its name until the establishment of RA 9710 (or the Magna Carta of Women). Upon the passing of the Magna Carta, the organization modified from its original name to a new one—today, it is better known as the Philippine Commission on Women.