Speech of CHR Commissioner, Hon. Faydah M. Dumarpa, during the”CyberSafe against Fake News: Being Smart, Being Safe and Staying Ahead! Ensuring Women and Girls’ Safe Online Experience” – CSW67 Side Event (10 March 2023)

Speech of CHR Commissioner, Hon. Faydah M. Dumarpa, during the”CyberSafe against Fake News: Being Smart, Being Safe and Staying Ahead! Ensuring Women and Girls’ Safe Online Experience” – CSW67 Side Event (10 March 2023)

10 March 2023, Conference Room 8, 1:15-2:30PM | United Nations Headquarters, New York

Hon. Faydah M. Dumarpa | Commissioner, Philippine Commission on Human Rights

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.

The Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines, as a National Human Rights Institution and Gender and Development Ombud under the Magna Carta of Women has always worked with women in the marginalized sector. In undertaking our monitoring of our State’s compliance with its treaty obligations, we have always actively sought the perspectives of women and girls in the margins – those facing multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination.
This afternoon, as we tackle the importance of ensuring women and girls’ online safety against fake news, we choose to focus our discussion on the importance of working with the most vulnerable and marginalized groups of women and girls. This include, among others, indigenous women and girls, women and girls with disability, women and girls living in geographically-isolated and disadvantaged areas, and urban poor and rural women.

In this day and age, social media is so ubiquitous that everyone is susceptible to disinformation and misinformation. This is more so, for those who are without access to media and digital literacy, and those deprived of access to information due to the vulnerable situations they find themselves in. It is then crucial that in the fight against misinformation and disinformation, we must consciously adopt measures empower vulnerable populations not only to discern true and accurate information from fake news, but also to report any such abuses.

On this, we share two examples from the Commission. First is our “Lila ang Kulay ng Boto Ko Campaign” (“Purple is the color of my vote)”, an education campaign on women’s right to suffrage on the lead up to the 2022 Philippine National and Local Elections. In this campaign, we provided a platform for voter’s education for key sectors of women—urban poor, older women, women migrant workers, young women, women with disabilities, and rural and indigenous women.

The learning sessions aimed to arm women with access to information in relation to the elections; to be able to identify misinformation and disinformation; and to also forward their key agenda for the 2022 national and local elections. As part of the campaign, the Commission also conducted specific learning sessions for women with disability providing election-related information and a session on fighting misinformation and disinformation.

In focusing on the most vulnerable groups of women, we are ensuring that we make information, skills, and remedies accessible and available to those otherwise having little or lacking access to it. It is clear to us that part of empowering women and girls in the fight against misinformation and disinformation is directly engaging with them, making information accessible, including information in relation to accessing remedies in cases of violations.

This brings us to our second example—our creation of an online reporting portal for gender-based violence—our “E- Report mo Sa Gender Ombud” project. Through the online reporting portal, we are able to provide a platform for women and girls to report and seek assistance on different forms of violence either committed offline or in online spaces, including those arising from disinformation and misinformation.

The Philippine Commission on Human Rights hopes that through these examples, we are able to highlight that in the fight against disinformation and misinformation, it is crucial that we directly consult, engage and actively seek the critical and meaningful participation of the most vulnerable sectors of our society, such as women and girls in vulnerable situations and with special needs; and by doing so, we truly leave no one behind.

Thank you and Mabuhay!