Panelists and Secretariat of the Online GeRL Assessment Tool Orientation for CALABARZON LGUs

The CALABARZON Regional Gender and Development Committee (RGADC) pushed for gender-responsiveness at the local level through an Orientation on the Enhanced Gender Responsive LGU (GeRL) Assessment Tool conducted on September 15, 2020 via Zoom videoconference. The online orientation gathered a total of 353 participants with 96 out of the 142 LGUs in the region participating.

The CALABARZON RGADC, in partnership with the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), conducted the said orientation to increase awareness and enhance the capability of LGUs in administering the GeRL Tool which will help ensure the gender-responsiveness of services and organizational capacities of LGUs.

In his opening message, NEDA Director and RGADC Luis G. Banua said that the online orientation provides a venue to continue to train LGU GAD focal persons despite restrictions on personal gatherings due to the current pandemic. The activity is one of the RGADC’s efforts to achieve the goal to localize the Magna Carta of Women and to fully institutionalize GAD policies, guidelines, and tools in the Region.

Before the orientation, participants were asked to accomplish the GeRL Tool self-assessment for them to have a first-hand experience in using it. During the orientation, resource persons from PCW also explained the purpose, components, and how to use the form which was further elaborated through instructional videos.

Selected LGUs also shared their experiences and challenges in using the GeRL Tool. The LGUs of Tayabas City, Tuy, Batangas and Nagcarlan, Laguna encouraged the other LGUs to start assessing their LGU’s gender responsiveness. Although they found the assessment difficult at first, the scores motivated them to do better, ensure regular conduct of assessment, and implement programs to addresses gaps.

During the open forum, some concerns and recommendations to promote the use of the GeRL Tool were raised. Some of the suggestions were to include the GeRL assessment in the Seal of Good Local Governance, creation of an LGU monitoring and evaluation team, and linkage with the national and regional GAD resource pool for deepening sessions and technical assistance, among others.

In her closing remarks, Director Maria Kristine G. Balmes of PCW called for LGUs to fully utilize the GeRL Tool for more gender-responsive local planning, and implementation of programs and projects. She also mentioned the potential use of the tool in the CALABARZON Search for Outstanding GAD Implementer Award, and in PCW’s accreditation of Local Learning Hubs.

Lovely S. Mores, NEDA Region IV-A | September 17, 2020