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Commission calls for stronger measures protecting battered women

DUMAGUETE: The Provincial Commission on Women (PCW) in Negros Oriental called for tighter measures to protect the welfare of battered women as it kicked off Friday the month-long celebration of National Women’s Month this March.

PCW Vice Chair Phoebe Tan told reporters in an interview that there is a perceived rise in the number of battered women in the province.

However, most of these cases are not reported to authorities, Tan said.

She said she could not give the exact figures as the data from the police, women’s advocacy groups, and similar organizations vary.

Tan underscored the need to map out more measures that would involve men in the fight against abuse of women, saying that husbands have an essential role to play.

‘It’s a vicious cycle where women report their abusive husbands but unfortunately do not pursue any complaints against them. The next thing you know, after a fight, you see the couple riding a motorcycle together as if nothing has happened,’ she said in mixed English and Cebuano.

a single case of wife battery has been filed against a man in Negros Oriental,’ she lamented, adding that it is one of the biggest challenges they are facing these days.

Women battering has become like a ‘way of life’ already and reduced to just a part of the couple’s relationship, she added.

Tan recommends letting the men undergo counseling, as well as monitoring those involved in complaints involving women.

She said there should be a balance between ‘punishment’ and ‘rehabilitation’ of these men.

The Women’s Month celebration in Negros Oriental will focus on gender equality and inclusive society, where men and members of the LGBTQ community are encouraged to participate in several activities lined up this March, she added.

Woman with disability

Meanwhile, 49-year-old Jerlyn Cabugnason shared her journey and challenges as a woman with a disability during the kick-off ceremony at a local hotel here.

Cabugnason, who hails from Manjuyod, Negros Oriental, met an accident several years ago while being empl
oyed in Metro Manila, causing her to be unable to walk and rely on a wheelchair.

She admitted having hit her lowest, attempting to commit suicide a few times but decided to rise above the challenges.

‘I prayed hard and even questioned God about my fate, but persisted relentlessly while helping other PWDs (persons with disability),’ Cabugnason said while thanking government agencies and private groups for helping empower women like her.

She engaged in cross-stitch embroidery and with the help of family and friends and social media, now earns income to cover her daily needs, including adult diapers.

Cabugnason was awarded the Babayeng Garbo sa Katilingban 2023, a search conducted by the provincial government for exceptional women who inspire others with their life stories and excel in their chosen fields.