The various existing laws and policies to empower and protect women, and ensure equal rights and opportunities for men and women, have been strengthened further with the enactment of Republic Act No. 9710, otherwise known as The Magna Carta of Women.

The Act, which is a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 2396 and House Bill No. 4273, was finally passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives on May 19, 2009 and May 20, 2009, respectively. It was signed into law by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on August 14, 2009.

Full text of R.A. 9710 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (from the PCW website)

Salient provisions

Women’s rights are human rights - “All rights in the Constitution and those rights recognized under international instruments duly signed and ratified by the Philippines, in consonance with Philippine law, shall be rights of women under this Act to be enjoyed without discrimination.” (Section 8)

Equal employment opportunities
- “Within the next (5) years, there shall be an incremental increase in the recruitment and training of women in the police force, forensics and medico-legal, legal services, and social work services availed of by women who are victims of gender-related offenses until fifty percent (50%) of the personnel thereof shall be women.” (Section 9A)
- “Within the next five (5) years, the number of women in third (3rd) level positions in government shall be incrementally increased to achieve a fifty-fifty (50-50) gender balance.” (Section 10A)

“All local government units shall establish a Violence Against Women’s Desk in every barangay to ensure that violence against women cases are fully addressed in a gender-responsive manner.” (Section 9C)

Women in the military
- “The State shall pursue appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination of women in the military, police, and other similar services, including revising or abolishing practices that restrict women from availing of both combat and noncombat training that are open to men, or from taking on functions other than administrative tasks, such as engaging in combat, security-related, or field operations. Women in the military shall be accorded the same promotional privileges and opportunities as men, including pay increases, additional remunerations, and benefits and awards based on their competency and quality of performance…

Further, women in the military, police and other similar services shall be entitled to leave benefits such as maternity leave, as provided for by existing laws.” (Section 15)

Special leave privileges - “A woman employee having rendered continuous aggregate employment service of at least six (6) months for the last twelve (12) months shall be entitled to a special leave benefit of two (2) months with full pay based on her gross monthly compensation following surgery caused by gynecological disorders.” (Section 18)

Gender and development (GAD) budget - “The cost of implementing GAD programs shall be the agency’s or the local government unit’s GAD budget which shall be at least five percent (5%) of the agency’s or the local government unit’s total budget appropriations.” (Section 36A)

Other laws protecting women and children

• Women in Development and Nation Building Act (R.A. 7192)
• Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act (R.A. 7610)
• Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995 (R.A. 7877)
• Anti-Rape Law of 1997 (R.A. 8353)
• Rape Victim Assistance and Protection Act of 1998 (R.A. 8505)
• Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 (R.A. 9208)
• Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004 (R.A. 9262)