TACLOBAN CITY- City Mayor Cristina Gonzales Romualdez expressed her total support on the campaign of the Office of the Ombudsman to act on cases of sexual harassment against members of the government’s bureaucrats. Romualdez made her assurance as the Office of the Ombudsman launched on Tuesday (July 19) its gender information desk (GID). The gender information desk will now allow alleged victims of sexual harassment or discrimination to file their complaints. Romualdez narrated that her administration is also providing support to victims of sexual harassment involving women and children. The city mayor said that the Women Shelter, the name of the facility, does not offer temporary haven and protection to distress women and children but at the same time provides them courses of livelihood for them to earn. Jennifer Manalili, assistant ombudsman and chairperson on gender development, said that that it is very important to have a GID here in Tacloban because studies have shown that after supertyphoon “Yolanda,” people have been affected and there a lot of economic and social dislocation going on.

The GID aims to ventilate the complaints of the victims with the Ombudsman referring them to the proper authorities if they need psychological counseling. On the other hand, they can act immediately on the complaint if the complaint is against a public official or employee Cases of sexual harassment, particularly involving women, was noted to have increase after the region was pummeled by supertyphoon “Yolanda” in 2013. As reported by the Philippine National Police, cases of violence against women (VAW) have been increasing in the last six years or from 2010 to 2015. A total of 1,466 VAW cases were reported in January to October 2015 which was higher compare to only 60 cases in 2010. The increase in the number of reported VAW cases can be attributed to the massive campaign and implementation of the country’s laws on violence against women and the improved reporting system on VAW in the region.