Wednesday, January 12, 2011

University of the Philippines System Gender Audit to Examine U.P.'s Compliance with the Magna Carta of Women

"Dakila" (2003) by U.P. Diliman Visual
Artist Sandra B. Torrijos at the Center 
for Women's Studies, U.P. Diliman

By Chanda Shahani

A committee created by the University of the Philippines (U.P.) Board of Regents has just finished a gender audit on the U.P. System with the purpose of determining how U.P. can ensure its compliance with relevant provisions of RA 9710 or “The Magna Carta of Women,” according to Outgoing Faculty Regent Judy M. Taguiwalo.

The creation of the committee was a response to Regent Taguiwalo's proposal to the BOR on September 29, 2009. The chair of the committee is the Director of the U.P. Center for Women's Studies, Dr. Sylvia Estrada-Claudio with Regent Taguiwalo concurrently a member of the committee and the head of the gender audit team. Regent Taguiwalo is also concurrently a professor at the U.P. Diliman College of Social Work and Community Development.

In an email sent to the Diliman Diary, Regent Taguiwalo said the team submitted its report to Dr. Claudio before classes ended last Dec. 17 and that the report proper has been sent to U.P. President Emerlinda R. Roman.

One of the committee's key purposes is on how to ensure the implementation of the new Magna Carta of Women and its implementing rules and regulations. The U.P. audit results are timely and precedes a Commission on Audit (COA) parallel audit of the U.P. System on the exact same issue and constitutes part of COA's 2009 Consolidated Audited Annual Report (CAAR) of the U.P. System, and which was released to the public on November 4, 2010.

According to Regent Taguiwalo, last August 14, 2009, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed into law Republic Act 9710 or “The Magna Carta of Women.” RA 9710 is a “comprehensive women’s human rights law that seeks to eliminate discrimination against women by recognizing, protecting , fulfilling and promoting the rights of Filipino women, especially those in the marginalized sectors”.

While the University of the Philippines has been in the forefront in ensuring that women and gender concerns are addressed through various mechanisms such as the Anti-Sexual Harassment Policy, the setting up of a system-wide center for women’s studies and the establishment of gender/women’s offices in all constituent universities; among others, there are provisions in the new law which have direct bearing on the university, she said.

In particular, Chapter VI, Institutional Mechanisms, state the following:
  • The conduct of a gender audit
  • Allocation of 5% of the budget of the agency as the GAD (gender and development) budget
  • Integration of gender issues and concerns in the annual plans of all departments including attached agencies, state universities and colleges. 
  • Creation and/or strengthening of the GAD Focal Points (GFP) or similar GAD mechanisms to “catalyze and accelerate gender mainstreaming within the agency or local government unit.”
Meantime, the basis of COA's critique of the U.P. System in the 2009 CAARs was Section 29 of the General Appropriation Act of 2009 (R.A. 9524) which provides that all government agencies shall formulate a GAD plan designed to address gender issues within their concerned sectors. Additionally, Section 31 of the General Provisions of the 2011 General Appropriations Act (R.A. 10147) also has similar requirements for GAD for all government agencies and entities (

Although the U.P. gender audit report was not immediately available to the Diliman Diary, the 2009 COA CAAR was revealing in that it shed some light on the uneven state of development of GAD within the U.P. System. COA said that U.P. needs to more aggressively address the issue of all U.P. campuses having to allocate at least 5% of their approved budget for GAD programs.

The COA report also cited Joint Circular No. 2004 of the Department of Budget and Management, the National Economic Development Authority and the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW) which stipulated that government institutions such as U.P. needed to conduct massive information, education and communication campaigns on gender issues.

The circular requires that GAD be an annual planning exercise by all agency or department heads, and that annual GAD accomplishment reports be submitted as well as the submission of annual GAD plans and budgets submitted to the NCRFW.

According to the 2009 CAAR of COA, the GAD budget allocation and program implementation of the six U.P. campuses are as follows:
  • The U.P. System allocated PhP 3.8 million for GAD in 2009. COA said that the allocation was only 1.74% of the U.P. System's PhP 218,106,000.00 total budget appropriations, which is "a lot less than the required 5% or PhP 10,905,000.00 of the latter. More could be done if the allocated budget was within the required percentage." However, COA admitted that actual expenditures reached PhP 3.9 million as other GAD activities were undertaken, although they were not planned.
  • U.P. Diliman, Allocation for the GAD program was only 0.24% or 4.76% less of the required 5% or PhP 82,238,844.42 of its PhP 1,644,777,688.38 total budget appropriations. According to the annual report, GAD activities focused on training, information advocacy, counseling services and networking/partnership building.
  • U.P. Manila-PGH: Although the GAD focal person submitted the GAD budget for 2009 which was incorporated into the overall GAD budget request of PhP 3.6 million, the problem was that only 31.93% or PhP 1.854 billion for CY 2009 was approved out of the proposed PhP 5.807 billion, and UPM/PGH had to make a rational allocation of its scarce capital for priority projects, which compromised GAD project implementation.
  • For U.P.Manila, GAD related activities were seminars, training and film showings in 2009 while for U.P. PGH, the Women's Desk Unit conducted Orientation on Violence against Women, workshops and training activities, handled cases of women survivors of physical and sexual abuse and participated in events organized by women's groups.
  • U.P. Baguio: The GAD focal person claimed that 70% of the GAD related activities were implemented in 2009 as shown by the 2009 report, but COA could not verify this due to the absence of an annual GAD plan or an endorsement from NCRFW.
  • U.P. Los Baños: The amount allocated for the GAD program by the UPLB Gender Center was only PhP 100,000.00 instead of the PhP 57.9 million or 5% of the total appropriation of PhP 1.159 billion.
  • U.P. Open University. The amount appropriated for the GAD program was PhP 48,488.30 instead of the PhP 2,743,059.38 or 5% of the total appropriation of PhP 54,861,187.63
In its defense against the COA Audit, however, the U.P. System, headed by U.P.'s first-ever female President, Emerlinda R. Roman, replied (as reported in COA's 2009 CAAR)  that, "approximately 80% of the University's budget is classified as personnel services ... Furthermore, the University does not get full cash release of its budget and hence, there is little room for incremental budget for GAD activities."

Meantime, U.P. Diliman, headed by Chancellor Sergio S. Cao, who is a male, is also saying that it "expressed its respects to gender equality and women's empowerment by recognizing that women and men enjoy the same status and conditions and that they have equal opportunity to realize their potentials and contribute to the development of U.P. Diliman." 

The 2009 CAAR of COA quoted U.P. Diliman management as saying that the proof of its commitment is its practice of supporting and sustaining women administrators and that the amount it spent on salaries and other benefits for women administrators alone reached PhP 96 million in 2009. U.P. Diliman which formed a component part of the total PhP 101 million spent in 2009 on GAD programs.

However, COA said that salaries and benefits of female administrators do not constitute GAD programs as approved by NCRFW per se and were not endorsed by NCRFW implying that there was a serious shortfall between management's statements and the actual implementation.

Meantime, U.P. PGH, which was headed by Dr. Carmelo Alfiler in 2009 defended its record by stating that the total budget of PGH in 2009 was PhP 1.638 billion of which 5% is PhP 81.9 million. PGH said that the total allocation given to the Department of OB-Gyne was PhP 103 million, which exceeds the requirement, and thus PGH is therefore compliant with R.A. 9524.

(Photo by: Chanda Shahani)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive

The Diary Archive