BAGUIO CITY – Josephine Lay-os of Sagada, Mountain Province, is this year’s regional winner and the region’s bet for the National Search for Outstanding Rural Women (SORW).
Josephine, affectionately known as Josie, is a remarkable rural woman whose dedication and contributions have left an indelible mark on her community. Her pioneering efforts in coffee production have significantly impacted the local economy, elevating her status as a steadfast community leader.
Josie’s drive to serve her community began with her countless involvement in various volunteer initiatives, selflessly offering her assistance often at her own expense.
During her stint as a barangay official, Josie passed several ordinances to show her commitment to fostering public health and safety. One notable ordinance she authored is the prohibition of farm animals and pets in certain areas to protect plants and maintain cleanliness.
Further, as a member of the Violence Against Women and Children Committee in their barangay, she passionately advocates for women’s rights and safety, highlighting her dedication to promoting gender equality.
Josie was also the first to believe in the potential of the Sagada Arabica Coffee Growers and Processors Organization and deliver green beans to them in 2014 when the million-peso organization was just starting.
Last week, from September 26 to 27, Gender and Development focal persons from the different attached bureaus and agencies of the Department of Agriculture-Central Office (DA-CO) visited Josie for a field tour and validation. The team conducted interviews with the nominee, her family, and organization members, including the barangay and municipal local government unit representatives.
Established in 2003, SORW is an annual national search that recognizes the important role of rural women and their contributions to society.
It is open to all Filipino rural women in areas with high poverty incidence, particularly those in the fourth to sixth-class municipalities, and is engaged in any agriculture and fishery-based activities.
Criteria for evaluation include contribution to food security and agricultural and fishery development, contribution to sustainable development, and impact on rural development.
The national awarding is set for Dec. 5, 2023. By JBPeralta