Legarda files resolution to review laws on women in line with the Updated Philippine Development Plan

March 30, 2021

Three-term Senator, now Deputy Speaker, Loren Legarda filed House Resolution 1681 that will direct the House of Representatives to conduct an inquiry into the implementation of pertinent women-related laws and policies in line with the Updated Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022.

The Updated Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 is geared towards the Ambisyon Natin 2040 that details strategies, policies, and programs under the three main pillars of Malasakit (building a high-trust society), Pagbabago (transforming towards equity and resiliency), and Patuloy na Pag-unlad (increasing growth potential). The updated Plan responds to the emergence of new threats to the country’s growth prospects and guides the transition towards economic recovery.[1]

“The vision of the Updated Plan is to attain an economic growth that is relevant, inclusive, and sustainable to uphold the right of every Filipino to a better life. However, the 2021 data of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) on gender statistics relating to work and economic participation showed that labor force participation rate of women from 2012 to 2021 has been considerably lower compared to men, with an average rate of female labor force participation at 46.29 percent compared to the 73.12 percent labor participation rate of males,” Legarda said.

“We have to address this gender disparity and promote women’s full participation in the economy to help pursue an inclusive and equitable economic growth. 49.4 percent of the country’s total population is composed of women with a poverty incidence rate at 16.6 percent in 2018. We have closed 78 percent of our gender gap based on the World Economic Forum (WEF) report but women remained to be distressed with poverty, abuse, discrimination and exploitation,” Legarda added.

Furthermore, Legarda cited data released by UN Women that the pandemic would cause resurgence of poverty pushing 96 million people into extreme poverty, 47 million of whom are women, by 2021. [2]

“Amid the pandemic, Filipino women suffered even more from economic insecurity due to loss of livelihood, which in turn has increased their vulnerability. In a report published by the UN Women, 6.6 million Filipino women are working in the informal sector with lower earning capacity, with little to no access to labor protections, in livelihoods that are dependent on public spaces and social interactions, and in the service and retail industry which are now hindered due to movement restrictions by the COVID-19 lockdowns and community quarantines, “ Legarda said.

The three-term Senator stressed that in order to sustain the provisions to build resilience through programs funded under the Bayanihan to Heal as One and the Bayanihan to Recover as One laws, the Updated Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 needs to be re-evaluated and to refocus its strategies towards having a healthy and resilient Philippines while facilitating economic recovery. She highly recommended that other laws and policies on financing, investments and trade also be reviewed to establish their relevance to the economic empowerment of women, as well as to determine the financial and resource allocation needed for the effective implementation of said laws for the benefit of women, groups and enterprises of concern.

“It is evident that the existing gender and social inequality existing before the COVID-19 pandemic are now exacerbated and need to be addressed promptly. Existing laws and policies need to be reviewed to ensure that they are proportionate and gender-responsive to help promote employment and economic upliftment among Filipino women and others in the vulnerable basic sectors in order to meet their needs for financing, capacity development and skills, and provide linkage and marketing support needs,”Legarda concluded.***