Expanded VAWC bill OK'd by House

Republic Act No. 9262 is known as The Anti-Violence against Women and their Children Act of 2004. Recognizing "the need to protect the family and its members particularly women and children from violence and threats to their personal safety and security", RA 9262 was signed by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on March 2, 2004.

Under the RA 9262, VAW refers to "any act or a series of acts committed by any person against a woman who is his wife, former wife, or against a woman with whom the person has or had a sexual or dating relationship, or with whom he has a common child, or against her child whether legitimate or illegitimate, within or without the family abode, which result in or is likely to result in physical, sexual, psychological harm or suffering, or economic abuse including threats of such acts, battery, assault, coercion, harassment, or arbitrary deprivation of liberty."

The House of Representatives on Monday approved on third and final reading the Expanded Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children (E-VAWC).

Lawmakers unanimously approved with 207 affirmative votes House Bill 8655, which seeks to amend Republic Act 9262 or Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004.

Gabriela Women’s Party (GWP) welcomed the approval, describing it as ray of good news amid looming approval of repressive measures and a historic advance of the #LabananAngAbuso campaign.

This is a much-awaited development by women abused by their partners, as the measure expands the definition of VAWC to include forms of electronic violence, with corresponding penalties, according to Gabriela party-list Rep. Emmi de Jesus, one of the principal authors of the Expanded VAWC bill.

We are pushing the E-VAWC to address the loopholes in Republic Act 9262 of 2004, which failed to mention electronic violence that could cause more damage but are not as visible as the manifestations of physical violence, she added.

House Bill 8655 includes psychological violence committed through the use of electronic devices or information communication technology-related means. These include spread of explicit videos to harass women and their children, harassment via text messages, stalking, and creation of fake social media accounts with ill intent and malice that will cause distress on the part of women.Electronic violence will be penalized by a fine of not less than P300,000 but not more than P500,000.

The measure also expands the provision of RA 9262 on the 10-day paid leave for VAWC victims, indicating penalties for the immediate supervisor or senior official who denies the victim of the paid leave.

In addition, House Bill 8655 widens the composition of the Inter-Agency Council on Violence Against Women and their Children to include the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB), Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Commission on Overseas Filipinos, and 2 representatives from civil society organizations.

With the approval of the measure, we hope to give women an increased chance to fight forms of violence and abuse as we educate them on their rights. We will continue amplifying support for this legislative advocacy through our regular Anti-VAWC consultations at the barangay, municipal, city-wide and provincial levels, Gabriela party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas said.

We urge the Senate to do its part and fast-track the counterpart measure amending the Anti-VAWC Act. If signed into law, this will be a very valuable legacy of the 17th Congress to women long suffering from all kinds of abuse and harassment, Brosas added.

Gabriela Women’s Party first filed the measure during the 15th Congress. SOURCES: House OKs expanded VAWC bill. RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News. Posted at Dec 11 2018 01:58 AM. https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/12/11/18/house-oks-expanded-vawc-bill; Legislation and laws. Violence against women in the Philippines. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violence_against_women_in_the_Philippines#Republic_Act_No._9262