PASIG CITY, March 09, 2023 – Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines and Secretary of Education Sara Z. Duterte advocated for the strengthening of mutual efforts to protect the rights and welfare of women, children, and adolescent girls in vulnerable situations alongside the promotion of a safer digital community in the country during the celebration of International Women’s Day on Wednesday.

“I urge everyone to work with vigor and enthusiasm in promoting the advancement of inclusive digital education. As we narrow the gender gap to digital accessibility, let us also remain relentless in fighting gender-based violence committed against our Filipino women and girls at home,” VP-Sec. Duterte said.

“DepEd [Department of Education] is committed to addressing child abuse and strengthening the protection for all Filipino children—making sure that they are safe, both online and offline, through the establishment of the Learner Rights and Protection Office (LRPO) and the Learners TeleSafe Contact Center Helpline where they can report cases of abuse, including online child sexual exploitation,” she stressed.

The Education Secretary also recognized the contributions of women in innovation and technology, calling them “integral players” in nation-building.

“We have seen, and we will continue to see women leading the way in politics, business, peace advocacy, media, manufacturing, social development, and other crucial sectors and aspects of our society,” VP-Sec. Duterte added.

Likewise, Atty. Kristine Yuzon-Chavez, Executive Director of the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), underscored the safety and security of women amidst the dangers and risks of the digital realm.

“There should be no room for privacy breaches, gender stereotypes, body shaming, sexual harassment, electronic VAW (Violence Against Women), and trafficking in persons in cyberspace. Instead, let’s make digital their space to thrive, connect, inspire, and excel.”

Bearing the theme “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality,” the DepEd celebration commemorated the cultural, political, and socio-economic achievements of women around the globe.

It also raised awareness and addressed the concerns on relevant issues on a gender transformative approach through a panel discussion that focused on “Striving towards Gender Equality in the Field of Technology.”

The online event was organized by DepEd, through the International Cooperation Office (ICO), in collaboration with United Nation Association of the Philippines (UNAP), PCW, and partner agencies.