Evacuees displaced by the impending eruption of Mayon Volcano are properly handled by authorities managing them in the evacuation centers, particularly in addressing gender-related concerns and especially those that concern handling women and children.

This was observed by members of Gender and Development (GAD) Focal Point System-Technical Working Group led by its chairperson Cynthia Samalea and Philippine Commission on Women (PCW)-AECID Local Coordinator Tet Triunfante during their visit and personal inspection of evacuation centers on Thursday, October 23.

Samalea noted that the teachers and camp managers assigned in each evacuation center underwent briefing on GAD affairs so that they know how to treat women and children as against the male evacuees.

She also noticed that a joint Medical Team from the Provincial Health Office (PHO) and Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital (BRTTH) is on a 24-7 duty to provide immediate intervention. Special care and attention is given to child-bearing mothers, pregnant women and children.

She is satisfied that the Philippine National Police (PNP) has assigned female police officers working with their male counterparts to deal with security matters inside the centers.

“It’s good there are policewomen in the vicinity as an extension of Women’s Desk required of every Police Station. It’s a big help for women and girls here,” Samalea said.

The group also observed that the evacuees continue making a living by engaging in gainful activities such as handicraft making and bonsai making which are sold in flea markets and even to visitors.

The GAD Team’s assessments will help in crafting effective legislations and in the planning and implementation of important GAD-related programs, more particularly that the Provincial GAD-FPS TWG has conducted a series of training and awareness seminars in the past months one of which is the “Seminar on the Role of Women during Disasters.” (Albay PIO/October 24, 2014)