Cities are now beginning to recognize the importance of providing safe spaces for women, girls, and children to protect them against further violence. The establishment of crisis centers and facilities do not only provide temporary refuge to survivors but also offer holistic services to address their needs for health, psychosocial, financial, and legal assistance.
This sensitivity to ensuring the safety of citizens against gender-based violence (GBV) can be considered a great leap in enhancing the delivery of social services in local governments.
Tayabas City's GAD Crisis Center
Established in 2014, Tayabas City's GAD Crisis Center serves as a halfway house for victims of violence against women (VAWC) and GBV. Constructed by the local government using its allotted GAD fund, they have also assigned personnel to manage and oversee the facility 24/7. The operation of the Center is supervised by the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO). Cases reported to barangay VAWC desks are turned over to the Center especially those individuals needing temporary shelter, counselling, medical assistance, and financial assistance which is mostly used to cover for transportation expenses incurred when undergoing medical examinations and when filing legal cases. The city supports these expenses by allotting Php 200,000 annually sourced through the GAD fund.
Tayabas City is part of Quezon Province, an accredited GAD Local Learning Hub by the Philippine Commission on Women. With the proactive GAD initiatives of the city, it made them the most outstanding GAD office in the province. Local governments looking to do benchmarking activities on GAD are being directed by the provincial government to visit and learn from the experience of Tayabas.
The leadership of City Mayor Ernida Reynoso and her support to the city's GAD programs is key in getting the commitment of the various city departments and offices in planning and implementing GAD-attributed programs, projects, and activities.
Crisis Center and Child Protection Unit of Dumaguete City
Similar to Tayabas City, Dumaguete, led by City Mayor Felipe Remollo, also has a facility dedicated to assisting VAWC victims. The VAWC Crisis Center which is funded through the GAD fund is jointly managed by the CSWDO and City Health Office (CHO). Other facilities set up by the city dedicated to vulnerable individuals include separate shelters for children in conflict with the law (CICL) and children at-risk.
Another commendable GAD initiative of the city is the Child Protection Unit (CPU) run by the Women and Children Protection Desk (WCPD) under the Philippine National Police (PNP) and in coordination with the CSWDO and CHO. The CPU is a 24/7 one-stop facility catering to cases of abused children. Established in 2015 through the city's GAD fund, the CPU is a first in the province of Negros Oriental and caters even to children from neighboring LGUs.
VAWC Drop-in Center of the Island Garden City of Samal
A temporary shelter for VAWC survivors, abused children, and CICL has been established by the local government of the Island Garden City of Samal. Apart from providing safe space, Samal's VAWC Drop-in Center assists individuals of their needs, particularly in their legal battles. The Center and its services are funded through the city's GAD fund.
Individuals being helped by the Center can also access other programs of the city which caters to the needs of women and children supported by the GAD fund, such as programs on family planning, maternal and child health and nutrition. Indigents are being referred to the Davao Regional Medical Center (DRMC) for consultation and treatment. This is made possible through a formal agreement between the city government through City Mayor Al David Uy and the DRMC.