Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) General Manager Alexander Balutan reported on Thursday that the agency is now a Gender Mainstreaming Evaluation Framework (GMEF) Level II government organization.
“After review and evaluation of the agency’s GAD (Gender and Development) activities covering the period October 2017 to November 2018, the agency’s improved GMEF scores is largely attributed to the strong support of the PCSO Board of Directors, Management and employees in all scheduled GFPS programs and activities,” said Balutan.
“What’s good about this is that the agency went from Level 0 and in barely a year, na-achieve natin ang Level 1 to Level 2. From October 2017 to November 2018 ‘yung inassess na activity. That’s a big accomplishment on our part!” added Balutan.
GMEF assessment determines what level PCSO is in. From zero, the agency is now at Level 2, where the highest is Level 5, which is replication.
“‘Pag Level 5 ka na, ginagaya ka na ng ibang agencies,” said Atty. Gay Nadine Alvor, chairman of GAD in PCSO.
GAD refers to the development perspective and process that are participatory and empowering, equitable, sustainable, free from violence, respectful of human rights, supportive of self-determination and actualization of human potentials. It is required under Republic Act 9710, or the Magna Carta of Women.
While GAD was signed into law by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on August 14, 2009, Alvor revealed that the agency only became very active on GAD activities when Balutan assumed as the General Manager in 2016.
“When the former chairman retired and GM [Balutan] came, I was designated by GM Balutan. I think he used to be the GAD focal point person or head of GAD committee in the Philippine Marines. But it took a while because I wanted to implement the activities once the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) approves it,” said Alvor.
Upon the approval of the GAD budget in September 2017, the agency started conducting activities for GAD and had a full blast during the fourth quarter of 2017 (October to December).
Activities include conducting GAD seminars, introducing for the first time agency-wide advocacy activity like National Women’s Month celebration campaign, and launching of “Serbisyo Para Kay Juana”, which offers free snacks and drinks in celebration of International Women’s Day.
The agency also produced videos on women’s right, which were looped all day; and printed various PCW fliers about Magna Carta and Violence Against Women – all are special laws about women.
The agency also had VAW campaign from November to December, and partnered with the Philippine Navy.
This year, GAD seminar topics include basics of Magna Carta for Women and VAW. By next year, GAD in the frontline services, sensitivity.
GAD is for all genders
At first, people were curious why the agency was doing GAD seminars or activities. But after attending orientations, everybody realized why.
“For them, GAD is a fun learning process. Ang mandate kasi ng PCSO is charity diba? So hindi malayo dun sa providing access to resources and opportunities for women doon sa ginagawa naming pagtulong sa mga mahihirap. They didn’t know we’ve been doing that all along. It’s putting a name to what we usually do. They are starting to realize that GAD is everyday pala,” said Alvor.
Contrary to wrong connotations that it is only applicable for women, GAD is applicable for both men and women.
“We wouldn’t have a nation without males. The reason why we are prioritizing women is because between male and female, women are more vulnerable. Women, elderly, and children – they’re part of the most vulnerable sectors of the society,” explained Alvor.
But for GAD to be successful, Alvor credited the whole PCSO Board of Directors, especially the GM for their all-out support and active participation.
“If you will analyze the two strong points or strengths of PCSO in GMEF Assessment, these are the policy from the Board and implementation of the GM and people. Very active ang ating Board of Directors, including the GM in all our GAD activities. What we have is an engaged organization and that’s the result of their leadership by inspiration and example,” said Alvor.
During the initial stages of GAD Committee planning, Alvor recalled how they had to present and explain many things to the GM prior to his approval or signature.
“Every time we ask him to sign a document, his only question would be: Will this result to points for the agency? If it’s a yes, then he will sign it. You have to take account there will be leaders, but it takes the whole PCSO/community to achieve the feat. Hindi mo pwedeng sabihin na achievement lang ito ng GAD committee or ni GM or ng Board,” said Alvor.
“Would you believe in other agencies ‘yung mga activities ng GAD nila Chairman lang ang pumipirma? Dito sa PCSO kakaiba! It’s the General Manager, and he’s [the one] instructing.
Itong pag-improve ng gender mainstreaming ng PCSO from Level 0 to Level 1, now to Level 2 in less than 13 months, napakalaking tulong ni GM,” said Alvor.
She also shared that many people were actually impressed during one of the GAD activities upon hearing an ex-marine general with decades of military experience in the battlefield in Mindanao talking and calling everybody to support the VAW campaign.
“There may be policies, but if they are not being implemented it’s nothing. There’s a reason why we call the Chairman as GAD Champion; the Directors as GAD Advocates; but the GM has a very special title, we call him GAD Enabler, because it’s the GM that enables the accomplishments of the plans and policies,” emphasized Alvor.
Equal rights on job promotion
If one will look closely at the profile of supervisors, managers, and assistant general managers in the agency, there are women representation. Even the Board has one female director.
So when it comes to promotion, Alvor assured that there is no discrimination among the employee based on genders.
In terms of opportunity, if an organization or establishment is not gender-sensitive, there won’t be equal opportunities for women as well.
“In PCSO, what the male employees get, the female employees also get. Para kay GM, the most importance resource of PCSO is its employees, so we have to protect them,” said Alvor.
She further explained that PCSO treats its employees as family, however, the Board and the GM know where to strike a balance by enforcing discipline and sensitivity to the needs and concerns of employees. Otherwise, people will rally outside to go against the management.
“Ang culture kasi ng mga tao dito sa PCSO is we treat everyone as a family. We take care of one another. Even in the management and the Board the way I look at it, kapag may concerns and empleyado they all rally,” she added.
In closing, Atty. Gay assured the public that the GAD projects will continue and they will improve. Hopefully by 2019, it will expand and by the end of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, the agency hopes to get a Level 3, 4 or Level 5.
“Our vision is to be the first GAD gaming organization. ‘Yung present corporate vision and mission namin na presence in every province, that’s it e. If you’re a gender and development gaming organization nasagot mo na lahat kasi equal access to opportunities and resources,” she ended.