The Quezon City government has lined up various activities for its National Women’s Month celebration, which carries the theme “Gender Equality for an Inclusive Society.”

The city government’s celebration is highlighted by Mayor Joy Belmonte’s State of the Women Address (SOWA) on Wednesday.

For the entire month, the Quezon City Protection Center (QCPC) will provide free PAP smear testing while the Small Business and Cooperatives Development and Promotions Office (SBCDPO) will organize the POP QC-Women’s Month Bazaar at the Quezon City Hall grounds and provide livelihood training for women entrepreneurs.

The Gender and Development (GAD) office and various departments have also organized seminars on sexual harassment, women’s rights and mental health. 

The Public Affairs and Information Services Department (PAISD) will hold a photo contest while the Gender and Development (GAD) office has organized an essay writing and poster making contest. The QC Public Library, for its part, will provide free coffee and tokens for its first 500 women clients.

Zumba sessions, medical missions,  free cervical cancer screenings, and ultrasound have also been lined up by various departments as well as the Quezon City Council.

Belmonte, during her State of the Women Address, will reiterate her commitment to eliminate physical, mental and sexual abuse against women through the different programs of the city government. 

The Mayor said the city government has implemented various programs to protect women from abuse, look after their physical and mental well-being and provide them with livelihood and education.

“Gaya na lang ng higit isang daang kababaihan na nasagip ng Task Force Magdalena, karamihan ng mga biktima ay edad bente uno pataas at ipinasok sa mga spa o massage parlors na nag-aalok ng extra service,” Belmonte said, referring to the program she established in 2020 to rescue victims of human trafficking in the city.

Two years after the city launched Men Against Violence Everywhere (MOVE) and Cycling to End VAW, the city government received more than 2,000 reports of various kinds of abuse against women.

“Any number other than zero is simply unacceptable,” said Belmonte, adding that she expanded the services of QC Helpline 122 to respond to VAWC reports and mental health concerns.

Aside from the VAWC desk in the barangays, Belmonte has also established the QC Protection Center, a one-stop shop crisis center that she plans to expand to every district in the city, and Bahay Kanlungan, a temporary shelter for VAWC victims.

The city has also provided an initial 600 bicycles to women workers encouraging them to bike to work to enable them to save money for their family and help reduce carbon emissions that cause climate change. 

More than 17,000 women in QC with hypertension already received assistance from barangay health centers, including free laboratory testing, maintenance medicines, regular blood pressure monitoring and follow-up care.

Belmonte added that the city government has partnered with the Philippine Cancer Society for its ACT NOW Prime Care for Breast Cancer Program where 20,000 women will receive free breast cancer assessment and laboratory tests at its Pilot Site in Barangay Commonwealth. 

When it comes to their livelihood, the city government has provided financial assistance to women sari-sari store owners through its Small Income Generating Assistance (SIGA) Program. The Phase 2 of Pangkabuhayang QC has given P20,000 cash aid to more than 18,000 women to help them start their own small business.

Around 2,700 single mothers who experienced abuse were given  a  sari-sari store through the “Tindahan ni Ate Joy” program while around 13,000 women received  regular incomes through the QC urban farming program.

Belmonte also assured that the welfare of Women  Deprived of Liberty (WDL) and teenage mothers are also being prioritized through the city’s “No Woman Left Behind Program” and “Batang Ina Program”, respectively.