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NEW YORK CITY, USA— Department of Budget and Management Secretary Amenah “Mina” F. Pangandaman highlighted notable strides that the Philippines has gained in advancing women’s rights as she urged all women to make their voices louder to promote gender equality.
Secretary Pangandaman delivered the Philippines’ Statement at the General Discussion at the 68th annual Commission on the Status of Women (CSW68) as the Head of the Philippine Delegation. She is likewise expected to lead the delegation's engagement in the session's activities.
CSW is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. This year’s CSW is chaired by the Philippines through H.E. Antonio Lagdameo, Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations.
Upholding our commitment to gender-responsive governance and recognizing the intersectionality of issues they face in society, the Philippines has made significant strides in promoting the rights of women and girls from different sectors” DBM Secretary Pangandaman declared.
The Budget Secretary cited the enactment of the Magna Carta of Women, a comprehensive anti-discrimination and gender-equality law that was further operationalized and translated into meaningful and targeted outcomes through the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (GEWE) Plan 2019 to 2025.
In making the national budget gender-responsive, Secretary Pangandaman also shared that all government agencies have been allocating at least five percent of their budget to support programs and activities on GEWE since 1995.

A high percentage of Gender and Development (GAD) budget in relation to the total agency budget is one of the indicators of the depth of gender mainstreaming within the agency. It reflects that the agency is not only implementing direct GAD programs, activities, and projects (PAPs), but also actively integrating gender perspectives throughout its planning and programming processes.

As a testament to our commitment to financing with a gender perspective, government agencies have been allocating at least five percent of their budget to support programs and activities on GEWE since 1995. In 2022, we spent an estimated 18.9 billion USD on gender programs,” Sec. Pangandaman said.

The Budget Secretary likewise mentioned that the Philippine government has also mainstreamed gender into social protection initiatives through the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, and strengthens business skills of women through providing them access to business financing.
We continue to strengthen our institutions and social protection programs to address women’s poverty. Our Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, a conditional cash transfer program with a budget that has exponentially increased from 5.37 million USD in 2008 to 1.9 billion USD this 2024, has benefitted 4.4 million Filipino households. Cash grants are given directly to mothers of eligible households, increasing their ability to invest in the well-being of their families, thereby improving the survival, health, and access to education of their children,” Pangandaman said.

With women-led micro, small, and medium enterprises being the driving force of the Philippine economy, our government provides support to women entrepreneurs by strengthening their business skills through projects like the Kapatid Mentor Me program, which offers them coaching and mentoring, and government loans that improve their access to financing,” the Secretary added.

Secretary likewise mentioned other initiatives dedicated to empowering women and upholding women and children’s rights such as the ongoing efforts to set up nationwide evacuation centers to cater to women and girls during disasters; the establishment of the Bangsamoro Women Commission, which integrates gender initiatives into the Bangsamoro Region’s Priority Agenda; and providing a venue for women in the public sector and civil society to join in the promotion of a gender-fair and open government.

There is always more to be done to achieve a genuinely inclusive and gender-fair Philippines—and world. But this should only motivate us to continue to rise above the limitations we have experienced in the past and—in the true spirit of equality—make our voices even louder to achieve a future of empowered women and girls in a gender-equal world,” Secretary Pangandaman concluded.

The session will run from March 11 to 22 March, 2024 with the priority theme, “Accelerating the Achievement of Gender Equality and the Empowerment of All Women and Girls by Addressing Poverty and Strengthening Institutions and Financing with a Gender Perspective”.
Among the participants from the Philippines are officials from the Philippine Commission on Women, the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Presidential Communications Office, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and Civil Society Organizations.

Implementation of an inclusive procurement program

In addition to the initiatives mentioned by the DBM Secretary during her speech at the UN-CSW68 General Discussion, the secretary likewise announced that the Philippine government is also pushing for the implementation of an inclusive procurement program to enhance competition in its bid to improve and address gaps in the government procurement system, as part of the government’s ongoing effort to amend the two decades-old Government Procurement Reform Act (GPRA).

According to Sec. Pangandaman, the proposed amendments to the GPRA will result in greater efficiency in the implementation of projects, purchase of goods and supplies and reducing, if not eliminating avenues for corruption.

The committee report on Senate Bill 2593 was sponsored by Senator Sonny Angara, as the chairperson of the Committee on Finance, paving the way for the start of debates in plenary.

The amendments to the GPRA shall streamline and make the process of government procurement more effective and efficient,” Secretary Mina said.

This will focus on providing equal opportunities to vulnerable and marginalized sectors, including microenterprises, social enterprises, and startups, while giving appropriate considerations for gender and ethnic equity, poverty reduction, and respect for labor standards,” Sec. Pangandaman said.
Telephone: (+632)-8657-3300 local 2522