CATARMAN, Northern Samar-The awarding of the best GAD (Gender and Development) implementer barangays initiated by the provincial government of Northern Samar through the Provincial Gender and Development Focal Point System highlighted the culmination of the 18-Day Campaign to End Violence against Women (VAW) held at the Ibabao Hall of the provincial capitol on December 12.

Maria Teresita Gacusan, chairperson of the PGAD Focal Point System Technical Working Group, said the awarding was aimed at recognizing barangays that excelled in GAD implementation, inspiring them to formulate programs and services adopting the GAD approach that can be replicated as best practices.

After a thorough evaluation by the team, Barangay Daganas, Catarman who got the highest score received P75,000 and plaque of appreciation; second was Brgy. Little Venice of Laoang, with P50,000 cash; and third was Brgy. Sangcol, Laoang which received P 30,000.

The other 10 barangays that participated and submitted documents for evaluation also received P10,000 each.

A barangay to be considered best GAD implementer should ensure to have a functional Barangay VAW Desk following the operational handbook provided by the Philippine Commission on Women and the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

It should have established linkages with the local and national government agencies where the barangay can refer to particularly if there’s a victim or a VAW survivor which needs further assistance.

The Barangay VAW Desk promotes harmonious family and community relationships grounded on mutual respect to human rights, taking proactive measures to attain a VAW-free community.

Board Member Liza Esidera, Sangguniang Panlalawigan chairperson on the Committee on Women and Family Relations, said she is happy to note that the community is now aware of the crusade to end violence against women and children.

“This was shown with the passage of PGAD Code not only in the province but as well as in other LGUs, and this mirrored how serious we are in following what is stipulated in the law protecting the rights of women and children,” she added.

In his message read by Vice Governor Clarence Dato, Governor Edwin Ongchuan, who sponsored the prizes, said, “Let us continue our partnership with other advocacy groups to sustain the gains we have in the province in the fight to end VAWC. Let us stop the culture of patriarchy, machismo and exaggerated masculinity. Men should be aware of their responsibilities, and women should uphold and know their rights.”

(MMP/ADiaz/PIA Northern Samar)