The Magna Carta on Women (Republic Act 9710) was signed into law in 2009, guaranteeing men and women equal rights in all matters related to marriage and family relations, including the right to enter into or leave marriages, choose a spouse freely, and decide on the number and spacing of children.The Magna Carta also states that betrothal or marriage of a child shall have no legal effect. While the 1997 Family Code governs the majority Christian population, the law recognizes both Indigenous customary laws, as well as Muslim personal laws.
The Family Code sets the legal age of marriage at 18 years for both men and women. However, the Muslim Personal Law permits marriage of girls under the age of 18 as well as allows arranged marriages. The United Nations reports, based on 2007 data, that 5.3% of girls between 15 and 19 years of age were married, divorced or widowed, compared to 1.7% of boys in the same age range. In 1980, 14.2% of girls aged between 15 and 19 were married, divorced or widowed, which indicates that societal acceptance of early marriage has declined slowly in recent decades.In 2006, the United Nations Committee on Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) expressed concern about the persistent practice of early marriage amongst Muslim women in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). There is very little official data on child marriage in the Philippines; however UNFPA cites 2010 survey data that indicates that, of a sample of girls in the ARMM who had been married before they were 18 years old, 83% were aged 15-17 when they wed, while 17% were aged 9-14.With respect to other discriminatory practices against women in marriage, the Mindanao Commission on Women reports that bride abduction, forced marriage and payment of bride price still persist as part of the culturally sanctioned practices in the ARMM.
The 1997 Family Code granted men and women equal parental authority and shared responsibility for raising their children. However Articles 211 and 225 state that, “in case of disagreement, the father's decision shall prevail, unless there is a judicial order to the contrary.” The Philippines Commission on Women has argued for the amendment of the provision on the grounds that it is discriminatory, perpetrates stereotypes, and is in conflict with the Magna Carta.
Under the civil law, there is no legal discrimination between sons and daughters in the area of inheritance.Pursuant to Article 996 of the New Civil Code, widows have an equal inheritance right to surviving children. Inheritance follows both the male and the female line, succession norms adopt either the primogeniture system (whereby land is inherited by the eldest male or female child) or the equal sharing system (whereby all male and female heirs inherit equally). The surviving spouse, male or female, may not inherit, but holds land as a trustee for the children. However, in 2004 the government reported that there is some evidence that, in practice, propertied parents leave lands to sons but ensure the future of daughters by investing in their education. Moreover, people governed by Muslim personal law follow patrilineal inheritance practices, where land is passed along the male line.
Polygamy is illegal for men under the Penal Code in the form of concubinage. However, the Muslim Personal Laws permit polygamy. Article 27 allows a man to have more than one wife "if he can deal with them with equal companionship and just treatment as enjoined by Islamic law and only in exceptional cases"; although a woman may not have more than one husband.
Despite the fact that the Magna Carta obliges the government to grant the right of all women and men to enter and leave marriage, in practice leaving a marriage is very difficult. In 2006, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) expressed concern about the lack of a law on divorce, which makes it impossible for women to obtain a legal divorce. The Family Code does however provide for ‘legal separation’ on the grounds of repeated violence, psychological incapacity, homosexuality and lesbianism and drug addiction. Women also experience discrimination in the Philippines under the laws relating to adultery. Articles 333 and 334 of the Revised Penal Code 1930 make a wife criminally liable for ‘adultery’ with a man who is not her husband in all circumstances; whereas a man is only criminally liable for the crime of ‘concubinage’ if he is caught with another woman ‘under scandalous circumstances’ or when he cohabits with another woman. The crime of adultery carries stiffer penalties compared with concubinage. A bill is under consideration to amend Articles 333 and 334 of the Philippines Penal Code.
The Philippines has experienced a rise in the number of female-headed households in recent decades. The government’s response to this shift may indicate a change in attitudes towards women’s role in the family. For example, in 2000 the government passed the Solo Parents Welfare Act of 2000, which provides for a comprehensive program of social development and welfare services for sole parents and their children, including flexible work arrangements and parental leave of seven working days, livelihood development services, educational and housing benefits, among others.
 The Magna Carta on Women (Republic Act 9710), Section 19  The Indigenous Peoples' Rights Act, Secs. 15 and 65-70  Code of Muslim Personal Laws of the Philippines (Presidential Decree No. 1083), Arts. 137-159  CEDAW (2004) p.145  The Code of Muslim Personal Laws, 1977 Article 27  UN (2012)  CEDAW (2006a) p.6  UNFPA (2010, p.4  JICA (2008) p.52  Philippines Commission on Women (n.d e)  Civil Code, Arts. 978 - 980  FAO (n.d)  CEDAW (2004) p.35  FAO (n.d)  CEDAW (2004) p.147  Section 19  CEDAW (2006a) CC p.7  CEDAW (2004) p.145  UNDP (2010), p.126 20] Philippines Commission on Women (n.d.)  CEDAW (2004) p.145  CEDAW (2004) p.145
The Magna Carta guarantees the protection of Filipina women from all forms of violence, including those committed by the State; as well as protection and security in times of disaster, calamities and other crisis situations.  It also commits the government to: overseeing the gradual increase in the recruitment and training of women in government services that cater to women victims of gender-related crimes/violations; implementing mandatory training on human rights and gender sensitivity to all government personnel involved in the protection and defence of women against gender-based violence; and establishing a Violence against Women Desk in every barangay to address violence against women cases, and provide psycho-social health care for survivors.
The 2004 Anti-Violence against Women and their Children Act protects women and their children from physical, psychological and economic abuse in the context of marital, dating or common law relationship. The law contains a comprehensive deﬁnition of domestic violence, including acts that result in physical, sexual or psychological harm, battery, assault, coercion, harassment or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, stalking.It also recognises ‘battered woman syndrome’ as a legal defence for women who have suffered cumulative abuse and have been driven to defend themselves.In addition to criminal sanctions, the law provides for issuance of civil protection orders to stop violence and prevent recurrence of future violence as well as temporary custody orders, orders for maintenance, restitution for damages.Moreover, protection orders must be heard within one day, with administrative liabilities to be incurred by judicial and other officers who fail to administer these timeframes without a valid reason. The Act also recognizes a woman’s right to support services and legal assistance, and includes detailed duties for prosecutors, court personnel, and law enforcers. UN Women has identified many of these elements as best practices examples of domestic violence legislation.
However, domestic violence remains a significant challenge for the Philippines. A 2008 Demographic Health Survey (DHS) found that about three in ten women report having experienced spousal violence (physical, sexual or other) at some time in their life. One in seven ever-married women report having experienced physical violence by their husbands, and 8% report having experienced sexual violence by their husbands.  With respect to attitudes that condone violence against women, the 2008 DHS found that there is a low level of acceptance of violence amongst women. The survey asked women whether they think a husband is justified in hitting or beating his wife under a series of circumstances: if she burns the food, if she argues with him, if she goes out without telling him, if she neglects the children, and if she refuses to have sexual intercourse with him: only 14% of women agreed that a husband is justified in beating his wife for any of the reasons. Neglecting the children is the most commonly justified reason (12%), while the least common reason is refusal to have sexual intercourse with the husband or burning the food (2% each).
The Anti-Rape Law of 1997 prohibits and criminalizes rape. The law redefines and expands rape from a crime against chastity to a crime against the person and implicitly recognizes marital rape. The Supreme Court ruled for the first time in 2014 that husbands cannot rape wives and marriage is not a license for them to rape their wives. However the law also provides for pardon if the victim subsequently agrees to marry the perpetrator, which the Philippines Commission on Women has identified as particularly problematic, and in direct conflict with the principles of the Magna Carta. In addition, the Rape Victims Assistance and Protection Act of 1998 mandates the establishment of a Rape Crisis Center in every province and city in the country, providing standard government services for all rape survivors, and prescribing rules to be followed in the investigation of rape cases. In 2012 the UN reported that there are over 27,000 Violence against Women Desks in villages throughout the country, in addition to the 1,868 women and children protection desks in police stations nationwide staffed by 3,240 female police personnel.
Despite the availability of legal protections, a lack of enforcement continues to leave women vulnerable. According to the US Department of State, in smaller localities perpetrators of violence sometimes used personal relationships with local authorities to avoid prosecution. Even when prosecuted, rape cases suffer from a high rate of attrition. The Human Rights Council reported in 2013 that enforcement of the rape law remained weak due to the fact that, in practice, women needed to satisfy a high threshold to prove rape and the lack of consent. Moreover, social stigma and prejudices concerning rape victims also impede access to justice. In 2012 the United Nations Committee on Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) heard a complaint lodged by a rape survivor from the Philippines alleging that the judge in her case relied heavily on gender-based myths and misconceptions about rape, leading to the acquittal of the alleged rapist. In finding in the complainant’s favour, the Committee found that ‘rape myths‘ and gender stereotyping affects women’s rights to a fair and just trial in the Philippines.
In 2012 the Government reported that 1,030 cases of rape were reported to the police, an increase of 23% from the year before. The 2008 DHS found that 18% of women aged 15-49 have ever experienced sexual violence,and 1 in 25 had had a forced first sexual encounter.
The 1995 Anti-Sexual Harassment Act specifies that a person who has authority, influence, or moral ascendancy over another and who demands, requests, or otherwise requires sexual favours is guilty of committing sexual harassment, whether or not the demand is accepted.However, although the law penalizes supervisors, employers and managers with ‘authority and influence’ for acts of harassment in the workplace, the law remains silent on sexual abuses committed by co-workers.According to the Civil Service Commission, a total of 150 cases of sexual harassment have been recorded between 1994 and 2012, of which 101 cases were resolved, while 20 were referred to the agencies involved. Data on Compliance of Higher Educational Institutions show that in 2011, 42 complaints from State Universities and Colleges and 49 complaints from Private Higher Education Institutions were reported. However, the government concedes that the number of cases in the private sector is difficult to determine due to lack of a centralized reporting system.The Law only applies to the workplace. There are a lot of cases of sexual harassment perpetrated by state security forces to women and especially young women in rural areas, when they undertake patrol operations in villages.
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is not a general practice in the Philippines, but reportedly exists among some Muslim groups.
In 2006, the United Nations Committee on Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) expressed concern that the trafficking in women and girls continued to thrive in the Philippines, despite the introduction of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act in 2003. The problem of trafficking in the Philippines is linked to the high numbers of young women who seek to migrate, either internally or overseas, for economic opportunities. In the process of migrating, women face the risk of being trafficked for sexual exploitation or for forced labour due to lack of information on the place and nature of work and inadequate travel and work documents, or both. The US State Department Report on Trafficking in Persons found that the government sustained its efforts to identify and protect trafficking victims during 2012, but that overall there were inadequate resources available to serve the large number of victims in the country.
Limitations on women’s reproductive rights also infringe upon women’s physical integrity in the Philippines. The Magna Carta for Women guarantees a woman’s right to “[r]esponsible, ethical, legal, safe, and effective methods of family planning.” However, NGOs have noted that, despite the fact that both the Constitution and the Magna Carta oblige the government to strike down any laws that do not protect women’s equality and health, in practice, legal restrictions continue to deny women access to crucial reproductive health services. The Revised Penal Code of 1930 continues to criminalize abortions with no clear exceptions, even when necessary to preserve a woman’s life or health, subject to a penalty of imprisonment for six months to six years. In practice however, these sections have been read together with the general criminal law principles of necessity as set forth in article 11(4) of the Penal Code, in order to allow an abortion performed to save the pregnant woman’s life. However, these exceptions are not guaranteed. The Government has not prioritized the implementation of the Prevention and Management of Abortion Complications Policy (2000), which was introduced to ensure the provision of humane post-abortion care and prevent mistreatment of women seeking services. On April 8, 2014, the Supreme Court ruled that the Reproductive health law (RA No. 10354) is not unconstitutional, except for some provisions which were declared unconstitutional; some of these are: giving absolute authority to the spouse who will undergo a procedure; foregoing parental consent for minors who undergo procedure; no one can be forced to render health care contrary to one’s religious belief. An exception was made on life threatening cases of the mother or a child, saying the right to life has preference over the right to religious beliefs. Abortion is still illegal, but treatment of abortion complications is mandated; the status quo ante order was lifted and ordered the immediate implementation. The 2008 DHS found that unplanned pregnancies are common in the Philippines. Overall, one in three births in the Philippines is either unwanted (16%) or mistimed and wanted later (20%).
In regards to contraception use, the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012 guarantees universal access to methods of contraception, fertility control, sexual education and maternal care, and mandates the government and the private sector to fund and undertake widespread distribution of family planning and contraceptive devices. However, the Supreme Court delayed implementation of the law in March 2013 in response to challenges. UNDP reports that the Government has adopted the Catholic Church’s line of opposition to contraception, with adverse impacts on the country’s family planning programme.United Nations figures from 2011 indicate that only 36.3% of women used some form of modern contraceptive.
 Section 9  section 11  Republic Act No. 9262 ‘Anti-Violence Against Women and their children (VAWC) Act of 2004’, Section 3  Republic Act No. 9262 ‘Anti-Violence Against Women and their children (VAWC) Act of 2004’, Section 3(c)  Republic Act No. 9262 ‘Anti-Violence Against Women and their children (VAWC) Act of 2004’, Section 5  Republic Act No. 9262 ‘Anti-Violence Against Women and their children (VAWC) Act of 2004’, Section 65 (1)-(5)  Republic Act No. 9262 ‘Anti-Violence Against Women and their children (VAWC) Act of 2004’, Section 16  Republic Act No. 9262 ‘Anti-Violence Against Women and their children (VAWC) Act of 2004’, Section 13; 35  UN Women (2011)  Demographic Health Survey (2008) p.208  Demographic Health Survey (2008) p.xxiii  CEDAW (2006a) p.3  Republic of the Philippines, Supreme Court (2014), 21 April 2014  Philippine Commission on Women (n.d c); Republic Act No. 8353 ‘The Anti-Rape Law of 1997’, Article 266-C  Republic Act No. 8505 ‘Rape Victim Assistance and Protection Act of 1998’, Section 3  (Human Rights Council 2012b)  Human Rights Council (2012), p.2  Vertido v The Philippines, Communication No. 18/2008, CEDAW Comm., CEDAW/ C/46/D/18/2008 (2010) 41] NSCB (2013), p.3  Demographic Health Survey (2008) p.208  Republic Act No. 7877 ‘Act Declaring Sexual Harassment Unlawful in the Employment, Education or Training Environment, and for other purposes’  ADB (2008) p.130  UNDP (2010), p.124; Republic Act No. 7877 ‘Act Declaring Sexual Harassment Unlawful in the Employment, Education or Training Environment, and for other purposes’, Section 3  Philippine Commission on Women (n.d b)  Casalin, S (2008)  CEDAW (2006a) p.4  ADB (2008) p.78  US State Department (2013b)  Republic Act No. 9710 Act Providing for the Magna Carta of Women, Section 20  CRR (2012)  Republic Act No. 3815 Revised Penal Code, Arts. 256-59 54] UN (2011)  CRR (2012), p.2  Republic of the Philippines, Supreme Court (2014), 8 April 2014, p. 2 57] Demographic Health Survey (2008) p.xix  Republic Act No. 10354 ‘An Act Providing For A National Policy On Responsible Parenthood And Reproductive Health’  UNDP (2010), p.118  UN (2012b)
The male-to-female sex ratio at birth is of 1.05 and it decreases for 1.04 for the working age population (15-64).
There is no evidence to suggest that the Philippines are a country of concern in relation to missing women.
Sex-disaggregated data on the rates of infant mortality and early childhood nutrition does not provide evidence of preferential treatment of sons in relation to household allocation of nutrition. Data from 2001 on children’s time-use indicates that girls are slightly more likely than boys to be involved in household chores. Girls are also involved in household chores for longer than boys, since they conduct chores for an average of 8.3 hours a week, compared to 6.6 hours a week for boys. This suggests a preferential treatment of sons in the allocation of household chores. With respect to access to education, government statistics indicate that the Philippines has reached gender parity in primary and secondary education enrolments, which suggests that there is no preferential treatment of sons with respect to education.
The Magna Carta provides for the same rights for both spouses and common law spouses irrespective of the ownership, acquisition, management, administration, enjoyment, and disposition of property. It also provides for the same rights to properties and resources, whether titled or not and inheritance, whether formal or customary. Men and women also have equal legal access to land and non-land assets in the Family Code. However, Article 96 of the Family Code states that “[i]n case of disagreement, the husband's decision shall prevail, subject to recourse to the court by the wife for proper remedy, which must be availed of within five years from the date of the contract implementing such decision”. The Philippines Commission on Women has argued for the amendment of the provision on the grounds that it is discriminatory, perpetrates stereotypes, and is in conflict with the Magna Carta.
The Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL) states that all qualified women members of the agricultural labour force must be guaranteed equal rights to ownership of land, equal share of farm produce, and equal representation within advisory or other decision-making bodies that represent agrarian reform beneficiaries. CARL is not a land title; it is a certificate that mandates the recipient to start paying amortisation of the land granted. Lands are paid for a period of 30 years with 6% interest per annum; it is unclear how many women compared to men are able to make the lands awarded to them productive and complete the payment of the land. In turn, the Environment and Natural Resources Department amended (in 2002) its regulations on alienable and disposable public lands, thereby granting women – regardless of civil status – equal rights to apply for the purchase or lease of public lands. However, men are still perceived as – and are in actual fact – the primary property and landowners, despite several initiatives to institute land reform. In 2003, certificate of land ownership awards were granted to less than 16,000 women compared to more than 33,000 grants to men.A Department of Agrarian Reform data lists that cumulative as of December 31, 2002, men granted certificate of land ownership award (CLOA) was 375,129, and males 859,886; also listed distributed were emancipation patents (EP) to 326,178 males, and 49,921 females.
Women’s access to land is also constrained under customary laws of ethnic and religious minority groups, although with considerable variation. Under a still prevalent tenancy system, landowners discriminate against women, based on the assumption that women are not farmers and not as strong as the men to work in the farm. Most Muslim groups, which are concentrated in the southern part of the country, tend to exclude women from the ownership, control and administration of property. However, many ethnic groups from the north and the centre do not discriminate against women in terms of access to land; and in some cases, women must give consent for land transfers.
Legally, women have equal access to financial services, including bank loans; however, discriminatory attitudes inhibit their financial independence and banks prefer the signature or consent of the husband in financial transactions. Having the greater share of property ownership, men are better able to provide collateral for larger loans, whereas women’s access to credit is limited to smaller amounts. Similarly, although women have the legal right to independently enter into contracts and loans, many financial institutions still demand that the male partner co-sign any financial contracts.
The government created “Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program”, a conditional cash transfer programme launched in 2008 and supported by the Asian Development Bank since 2010. It works to ensure that women open bank accounts in their own names; and it targets 70% attendance of fathers in modules on gender-responsive family practices and on father’s role as caregivers. As a result, gender roles are reallocated within the family and women have more time to participate in economic activities. 
Under Article 36 of the Code of Muslim Personal Laws, the wife manages the affairs of the household; however, she needs the consent of her husband to exercise any profession or lawful business. The 2008 Demographic Health Survey (DHS) found that 54% of women reported that decisions on how wife’s earnings were used are done jointly by wife and husband, 58% of which belong to the highest quintile. Decisions on making major household purchases are also likely to be made jointly (65%); however, 14% of women say their husband usually decides about major purchases.
In 1995, the Congress gave the government a mandate to assist Filipino women in their pursuit of owning, operating and managing small business enterprises. The government reports that this mandate included provision that all women certified to have received appropriate training (at any government or government-accredited training institution) are eligible to obtain loans from government financing institutions. In 2001, the trade and industry department reported that the programme had aided about 4,000 women nationwide.According to 2011 World Bank data, although women were less likely to have taken out a loan in the last year (55% of women, as against 61% of men), women were more likely to have obtained a loan from a financial institution (12.8% of women, compared with 8.1% of men), as well as from private lenders (13.9%, versus 11.4% of men), indicating that men were more likely to borrow from family or friends.
 Republic Act No. 9710 Act Providing for the Magna Carta of Women, Section 19  Philippines Commission on Women (n.d d)  CEDAW (2004) pp.138-139  CEDAW (2004) p.146  ADB (2008) p.13  FAO (n.d)  CEDAW (2004) p.35  CEDAW (2004) p.35 Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program Website, http://pantawid.dswd.gov.ph/index.php/about-us.  Demographic Health Survey (2008) Chapter  CEDAW (2004) p.111  CEDAW (2004) p.111  World Bank (2011)
There are no reported legal restrictions on women’s access to public space in the Philippines. However, in some Muslim communities, women’s mobility outside the home is constrained. In addition, as described in the Physical Integrity section, the threat of trafficking, particularly for women who seek to migrate, impinges on women’s freedom of movement. The Philippines has a very active women’s movement, although women’s rights groups have reported State brutality against women human rights defenders.
With respect to women’s political voice, women in the Philippines have the same rights as men to vote in all elections, to be elected and to participate in the political and public life. The Magna Carta guarantees women’s rights to representation and participation and states that the number of women in third level or supervisory positions in government must be increased within the next five years to achieve a 50-50 gender balance. Gabriela, the largest alliance of women’s organizations, has formed a political party, fielding its first successful candidate in 2001. As at the 2010 elections, the Gabriela party has two members of Congress. According to the 1991 Local Government Code No. 7160 (section 41, para. C), a woman must be 1 of 3 sectoral representatives included in every municipal, city and provincial legislative council.
However, this has not translated into equal political representation over all. Following the 2013 elections, women make up 27.1% of The Philippines’s parliamentarians and 25% of Ministerial positions.Government statistics indicate that, as of 2010, women make up 21.6% of Local Government Units, 24% of Mayors, and 15% of Governors.
In 2007, the National Democratic Institute conducted a 6-months training programme to help women candidates running for the first time to prepare for the village and youth council elections. The programme included a mix of leadership and campaign skills training, as well as training on electoral rules and procedures.
Labour law in the Philippines prohibits discrimination against any woman employee with respect to: terms and conditions of employment (compensation, training and promotion); the imposition of requirements that a woman employee does not get married; or termination on the grounds of discharge of pregnancy. Women in the Philippines are entitled to 60 days paid maternity leave, paid at 100% of wages by the government. The law also grants seven days of paternity leave to fathers of newborns, to be paid by the employer.
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