Against Prostitution, for the Women in Prostitution: A Position Paper (1998)

Prostitution is a system whereby women’s bodies and their sexuality are commodified and exploited to satisfy men’s sexual needs. It is a system shaped and controlled by men and their and their representatives. Its modern day form is highly organized and extremely lucrative business. Its operations are undertaken under conditions that are highly exploitative and violative of women’s rights and humanity. It is a kind of business that has managed to enlist State endorsement.

This position paper by the Women’s Legal Bureau, Inc. for SIBOL (Sama-samang Inisyatiba ng Kababaihan sa Pagbabago ng Batas at Lipunan) covers the following topics; the collusion of the government and the business capitalist; the exploitation of women in prostitution; the norm of a male-defined sexuality; violence and sexual exploitation as the organizing principle of prostitution; and policy recommendations using the human rights framework.

Human Rights, Women’s Rights, and the Law (2003)

This booklet was conceptualized and developed to give readers an orientation on women’s human rights, and the international and Philippine laws relevant to them. The booklet also presents a framework with which to view laws on women, particularly as it addresses women’s realities of discrimination and violence in the family, workplace, community and institutions. The law has the potential to empower women against gender-based discrimination and violence. However, it is also a reality that the law and the legal system themselves could be discriminatory against women.

This booklet is also translated into Cebuano, Ilocano, and Tagalog to widen the reach of information in the country. It is hoped that it will contribute to the continuing efforts of women to fight for and protect their rights, and seek justice for the violations of their rights.

Ang Batas Laban sa Panggagahasa (Republic Act Nos. 8353 at 8505, at mga kaugnay na batas at desisyong Korte Suprema): Isang Praymer (1998)

Ang pokus ng praymer na ito ay ang Republic Act No. 8353 hinggil sa panggagahasa na inaprubahan noong Septyembre 1997. Binago ng Republic Act No. 8353 ang batas hinggil sa panggagahasa na nakasaad sa Revised Penal Code. Kasama rin dito ang mga desisyon ng Korte Suprema kaugnay ng panggagahasa. Tinatalakay din ang ligal na proseso sa pagsamapa ng kaso, at ang Republic Act No. 8505 (1998) na nag-aatas ng pagtatatag ng mga crisis centers na magbibigay ng serbisyo sa mga biktima ng panggagahasa.

Women’s Health and the Law (1997)

This compendium of information was inspired by the need to understand the complicated weave of legislation, policies and programs related to women’s health and advocacy in the Philippines.

The Chapter One of the book provides an overview of women’s health situation in the Philippines. Women’s life cycle does not only focus on reproductive and maternal roles. Women have significant stages like infancy, adolescence, adulthood, midlife and old age. In these periods, there is a prevailing system of gender-based social roles and expectations where women face health realities and problems differently from men. In Chapter Two, SIBOL (Sama-samang Inisyatiba ng Kababaihan sa Pagbabago ng Batas at Lipunan), a local legislative network that pushes for a women centered and women’s human rights framework. This conceptual approach on women’s health integrates concerns on productive health, sexuality gender relations, violence against women, women’s human rights and overall sociocultural representation of women in contemporary Philippine society. While Chapters Three and Four provides the Philippine Government’s commitments on women’s health, international obligations and national legislation, administrative policies and programs.

Isang Praymer Ukol sa Karahasan Laban sa mga Bata

This primer is a product of WLB’s years-long campaign on ending violence against girls. Supported by Save the Children Philippines, this primer was inspired by the artworks produced and shared by girls from the provinces of Quezon, Negros Occidental, Samar, and Zambales during the Hawak Kamay sa Sining, an art contest conducted by WLB and its partner women’s rights organizations in those communities in December 2020. 

Click here to interact with the primer.

A Legislative Advocacy Manual for Women (1997)

This publication is a special contribution of the Women’s Legal Bureau, Inc. to the concerted efforts in public consciousness-raising about women’s issues and the law undertaken by the women’s legislative advocacy alliance known as SIBOL (Sama-samang Inisyatiba ng Kababaihan sa Pagbabago ng Batas at Lipunan). It was produced by women for women. It approaches legislative advocacy from the experience and perspective of activist women’s groups. It is guided to women’s and other marginalized groups’ concerns.

Challenging and Subverting the System of Prostitution (1997)

Prostitution is a system that perpetuates violence, exploitation and power relations. It is about the continued economic marginalization and cultural subordination of women and how society accepts and condones men’s demand for sex and facilities their access to women’s bodies. It is about the continued socialization of women to accept themselves as sexual objects, particularly when faced with limited economic options.

This book contains an overview of prostitution as a system and its mechanism that facilitates the growing industry. In addition, it provides rights of women in prostitution, identifies policy recommendation and outlines strategies in addressing the issue.

Study on ICT, VAW and Sexuality: A Policy Advocacy

ICT (information and communication technology) has transformed and revolutionalized Filipino society; it has transformed not only political and economic systems and social interactions, but as well as culture. Through e-commerce, private companies have dominantly benefited from the convergence in applications, content and interactivity of ICT. ICT provided means to ensure efficient basic service delivery and good governance (transparency and accountability), albeit its uneven application in the bureaucracy. Social networks have greatly affected the manner by which Filipinos interact and communicate. In fact, the Philippines is found leading in the Asia Pacific in terms of Social Networking Sites (SNS) engagement.

However, there have been documentations of increasing violations and crimes committed and perpetrated through ICTs. These are realities on the ground, supported by articles and studies. Alongside these harms, ICT having provided spaces for women’s empowerment and exercise of their rights to sexuality and self-expression cannot as well be discounted.

In the light then of these, there is more reason to conduct a study and research on ICT, VAW and Sexuality. There is a need to look into the role of ICT in the perpetration of VAW as well as in terms of providing spaces for women’s empowerment and exercise of their rights to sexuality.

Read more here.

Claiming our place, Claiming our rights: A Philippine experience on the OPCEDAW

In November 2007, the rape of Karen Vertido became the first individual complaint or “communication” known in the Southeast Asian region to be filed under the Optional Protocol of the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (OPCEDAW).

The CEDAW Committee found that the Philippines violated Karen’s rights under the Convention. The Government is supposed to provide Karen “appropriate compensation commensurate with the gravity of the violations of her rights” and to undertake a list of specific measures to address problems in legislation, rape prosecution and court practices that discriminate against rape victims. Significantly, the Philippines is, in effect, asked to make its legislation conform to the prevailing international jurisprudence on rape, such as, for example, the case of M.C. v. Bulgaria (by the European Court of Human Rights) and the decisions of the ad hoc tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.

Read more here.

The Family Code and Other Related Laws: A Primer for Women (2003)

In line with the advocacy of the Women’s Legal Bureau, Inc. to empower women in using the law to protect and fight for their human rights, this booklet aims to provide basic information on women’s rights  in the context of her family and intimate relations under the Philippine laws. The Family Code is the main reference for this booklet, and indeed, for many discussions on legal questions regarding the Filipino family.

Furthermore, the booklet presents an alternative way to view the Family Code and laws in general. Knowledge of the law is important for women to protect and fight for their human rights. But it should not stop there, given that there are provisions in the law discriminatory to women, and women should also question the law and act to change it.

This booklet is also translated into Cebuano, Ilocano and Tagalog. The booklet is for every wife, single parent, and common-law partner who has not lost hope, or seeks hope, in the legal system.

Protocol of Feminist Lawyers in Handling Cases of Violence Against Women and Children (1998)

This protocol was developed in December 1998 for the Legal Advocates for Women Network (LAWNET), a Philippine national network of women lawyers and female law students committed to address violence against women and children.

The framework paper was intended to guide advocates- both lawyers and paralegals, in engaging in feminist legal advocacy on violence against women and other human rights issues. The paper is being used as a tool for organizing ethical and procedural guide for lawyers handling abuses against women and children in order to make provision for services that are appropriate, sensitive and effective.

Handbook ng mga Legal Advocates Tungo sa Pagsugpo ng Karahasana Laban sa Kababaihan sa Komunidad (1998)

Ang Legal Advocates Handbook na ito ay naglalayong maging isang gabay sa pagtugon ng mga Legal Advocates sa karahasan laban sa kababaihan sa komunidad. Ang Handbook ay inaalay sa mga kababaihang kasalukuyang kumikilos bilang legal advocates at maging para sa mga pausbong pa lamang na legal advocates sa komunidad.

Ang Unang Bahagi ng Handbook na ito ay tumatalakay sa konsepto ng karahasan laban sa kababaihan. Naglalayon itong mailinaw ang iba’t bang aspekto ng problema ng karahasan nang sa gayon ay angkop itong maipamulat at  matugunan sa komunidad.

Ang Ikalawang Bahagi naman ay tungkol sa kahalagahan ng kolektibong pagkilos sa komunidad tungo sa pagsugpo ng karahasan laban sa kababaihan. Ipinapakita rito ang mga kasangkot at sangkap ng isang sama-samang pagkilos. Ipinapaliwanag din ang mga tungkulin at gawain ng mga legal advocates.

Ang Ikatlong Bahagi ay naglalaman ng mga batas kaugnay ng karahasan laban sa kababaihan at mga kasanayang kakakailanganin ng mga legal advocates kaugnay ng pagtulong sa mga babaeng inabuso.

Understanding Incest in the Philippines (1998)

This reference material provides an overview profile of reported incest cases in the Philippines. The reported cases, however, do not reflect the actual incidence of incest. There are circumstances and issues surrounding incest that hinder its reporting. This booklet further covers recommendations and list of crimes applicable to incest.

The Relevance of Divorce in the Philippines (1998)

Marriage is both a tradition and an institution in Philippine society. As a tradition, it is replete with ceremonies and celebratory rituals. As an institution, it is recognized and protected by law. Marriage laws define the rights and duties of husbands and wives. The dissolution of marriage is discouraged and marriage break-ups are frowned upon.