The Juvenile Justice and Welfare Council (JJWC) through the JJWC – Gender Focal Point System (GFPS) in coordination with Regional Juvenile Justice and Welfare Committees (RJJWCs) VI and VIII trained Bahay Pag-Asa (BPA) staff on Basic Gender and Development as part of the support to BPA Project on June 13 – 16, 2023 in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental.

The training aimed to deepen understanding and heighten awareness of gender issues that affects both children and adults in BPA or other facilities and identify concrete recommendations and proposals to address gender bias in facilities toward more holistic intervention programs for children.

It was participated in by BPA Victorias City, University of St. La Salle Bacolod City, Bacolod City Social Development Center (SDC), San Rafael Children in Conflict with the Law (CICL) Center, Iloilo, Balay Darangpan, Lambunao, Iloilo, Oton CICL Center, Iloilo, Juvenile Center, Cadiz, Negros Occidental, Guidance Center for Minors, Negros Occidental, Youth Guidance Center, San Carlos, Negros Occidental, Youth Guidance Center, Escalante, Negros Occidental, Kabankalan CICL Center, Iloilo Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office, Estancia CICL Center, Murcia CICL Center, and BPA Sipalay City for Region VI and BPA Alang-Alang, Leyte, BPA Catbalogan City, Samar, and BPA Naval, Biliran for Region VIII.

Among the topics that were discussed were: Module 1: Basic GAD Concepts, Module 2: Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Expression, and Sexual Characteristics (SOGIESC), Module 3: Agents of Socialization, Module 4: Manifestations of Gender Bias, Module 5: Laws on Gender Mainstreaming, Module 5A: Space Spaces Act, and Module 6: Gender Fair and Inclusive BPA and Society. As a result, the participants were able to recognize critical gender issues in the BPA and identify action items to address such. 

The four-day activity taught Houseparent Jose Antonio Mellizo of SDC Bacolod City that “gender is one’s choice while sex is assigned at birth” therefore we should respect one’s gender identity and expression. 

While for Social Worker Lito Lucero, Jr. of BPA Catbalogan City, Samar “the application of learning on Basic GAD Concepts can be attributed to three principles of social work such as self-determination, non-judgmental attitude, and acceptance” which we should apply to everyone regardless of their SOGIESC.

Moving forward, JJWC and RJJWC will provide technical assistance on the formulation of BPAs’ Child Protection Policy to address critical gender issues that affect the children’s development in BPAs, Conduct Regional Implementation of Support to BPA Project, and Facilitate Basic GAD Training for BPA residents.