The National Women’s Month Celebration in the Central Visayas region concluded in an activity led by the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 7 and council members of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking: Violence Against Women and Children (IACAT7-VAWC), in partnership with SM Seaside City Cebu on March 22, 2024.

Women officers of Philippine National Police Regional Office 7 show their two (2) creative slogans based on the sub-theme of NWMC 2024.

The culminating activity commenced with a parade of different groups, clad with purple attire, banners, and creative slogans that emphasized the theme of the celebration: “Lipunang Patas sa Bagong Pilipinas: Kakayahan ng Kababaihan, Patutunayan!”

Joined by representatives of the lead agencies namely, DSWD, DILG, and DOJ, council members of the IACAT7-VAWC, local government units of Talisay City, Mandaue City, and Lapu-Lapu City, KALIPI Nasyonal, Inc., ERPAT, and partner beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

Highlight was a presentation of the 4Ps that showed its contributions to the advancement of women. 4Ps, a government program that aims to support poor households by investing in children’s health and education, shared that 292,804 women are presently engaged with the program, or equivalent to 89.30% of its beneficiaries in the region.

In a message, Lilibeth Cabiara, Division Chief of DSWD 7 highlighted that 4Ps women are not just mere recipients of cash grants but collaborators in helping transform communities by cutting generational poverty through healthy and educated children.

“Women empowerment is one of the many aspects of 4Ps. The program has transformed its course of history as women became duty bearers in the community and productive members of society, as well as agents of change,” she said.

By introducing various initiatives in the community, the 4Ps challenged the stereotypes that defined and confined women. It introduced various advocacies that break the limitations posed on them, especially on gender equality and inclusivity.

A talk on “Women Empowering Women” was moderated to feature inspiring women who rose above the challenges of gender-based stereotypes and violence.

Four women from various fields shared their experiences and words of inspiration to other women in the context of gender equality. Mary Jean Ople, a solo parent and 4Ps ReyNanay 2023; Jewelyn Enemecio, a victim-survivor and USWAG Association President, Geraldine Encisco, a community volunteer of Bildlisiw Foundation, Inc.; and Francesca Tagalog, Bantay Banay Organization President, served as guest speakers.

They were asked questions about how their gender contributed to the level of accomplishment they have achieved at present, how people think about them as women leaders, and what advice can they give to men to become gender equal and shift their biases towards empowerment and development for both sexes.

Women Empowering Women’ is one of the main events of the regional culminating activity of NWMC 2024.

Deputy Executive Director of Children’s Legal Bureau and the talk moderator, Atty. Noemi Truya-Abarientos said, “Empowering women is not just about women. It should be about partnerships with men. We cannot complete our power unless we complement each other, especially with men. It is not about competition with men but heading towards the same direction, towards inclusivity and that is by respecting each other,” she highlighted.

The culminating activity also served as an event for women to witness the DSWD-7’s reorganized Men Opposed to VAW Everywhere (MOVE) take their oath and reaffirm its commitment to help in the advocacies for women to be pushed for.

While KALIPI Nasyonal, Inc.’s newly-elected regional officers were sworn to help in various developmental activities for women in the region through DSWD’s women’s welfare sector.

In support of these re-organized groups, the Empowerment and Reaffirmation of Paternal Abilities (ERPAT), also showed their full support and reaffirmed their commitment to help carry out the advocacies for women and heighten community participation.

The DOH Central Visayas Center for Health Development also joined the activity and brought free medical services such as health education and promotion, HIV testing and counseling, HPV (for 9-14 years old), pneumococcal vaccination for senior citizens, and a mobile blood donation drive.

To conclude, participants danced the advocacy song of the Philippine Commission on Women “Isang Bilyong Babae ang Babangon” to signify their support in advocating for a gender equality and inclusive society. ###

(43) Views