TABUK CITY, Kalinga – Orange is the color of the day for the kick-off ceremony of the 18-day campaign to end Violence Against Women last November 25, 2022.
The color signifies optimism and energy and implies attention-grabbing and warmth, thus, the Provincial Social Welfare and Development (PSWD) wants to start their week with positivity and warmth. The department wanted the Ykalingas’ attention with the hope of ending violence against women.
Ms. Romemarites Oyawon, PSWD Officer, mentioned in her opening remarks that November 25th is the day of launching their orange-theme campaign providing their participants with orange t-shirts and lining up activities for November 25th, December 5th and December 12th. Oyawon also did the roll call uniquely by asking for an impromptu yell from each municipality and another involved sector with the participants standing and shouting out their yells (mostly older men).
Provincial Legal Officer Atty. John Paul Baguiwan formally welcomed all the participants from the different municipalities of Kalinga, mentioning that in RA 9262 (Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004), violence against women and children should not be mistaken for feminism because the reality is that, women and children are more susceptible to being violated or assaulted, while Board Member Danzel Michael Langkit acknowledged the participants in behalf of Vice-Governor Jocel Baac.
Governor James S. Edduba inspired the participants through storytelling of anecdotes of his younger days in Colayo.
He believes that RA 9262 is a wake-up call for every Kalinga man to treat his wife with care and respect. He also realized that some Kalinga culture can be called out for VAW like letting your wife lift most of the things when going to the farm. This can be justified though because of the tribal conflicts. The husband has to carry weapons and a shield for protection. He further reminded everyone that “treating a woman right starts at home”. For him, this is where the three core values of Kalinga should be observed; Paniyaw, Ngilin and Bain. “Let our life be guided by our core values,” he said as he ended his message.
The program continued with Provincial Human Resource Management Office Assistant Department Head Ms. Remely Battikin discussing the difference between gender and sex, gender biases, and stereotyping, with lively interactions because of the activities and Battikin’s candidness.
“One thing that was clear that most of us are not aware of is sex is the inborn and physiological characteristic to distinguish males from females while gender is cultural and temporary social orientation, like being sexy with long hair can be applied to both men and women,” Battikin added.
Atty. Romelyn Alinao from the Prosecutor’s Office, Department of Justice thoroughly explained the salient features of RA 9262 along with its court procedures to the attendees with additional inputs from Atty. Priel Balnao on RA 8353 (An Act Expanding the Definition of the Crime of Rape and Reclassifying the same as Crime Against Persons) while PMaj Quendolyn Adangi provided lectures on understanding gender-based violence statistics.
Meanwhile, Provincial Focal Person on Gender and Development Enp. Flordeliza Moldero together with Ms. Maricel Salvador of the Provincial Planning and Development Office lectured on gender sensitivity awareness.
The program ended with a group activity from the participants of the different municipalities to assess their understanding of the concept of violence against women (VAW). Prizes were also given to the participants who were able to give correct answers during the assessment.
Elders from municipalities appreciated the activity. One said that through the activity, he was able to appreciate the governing laws and rules protecting the rights of women. “Nu agawid nak ket arakupek ni baket ko. Ag thank you ak kanyana ta bareng lumag-anan met ti rikna na. Ken bagaak dagiti babbaro (binata, young adult men) diyay ili nga saan da aglablabes iti angaw, wenno saan da agaramid iti haan nga mayat, iti sao man, wenno pisikal kadagiyay babbalasang (dalaga, young ladies) tapno saan da mapasaktan ket Violence Against Women gayam iti kasdiyay.”- the attendee added.
To date, Kalinga recorded a number of cases on VAW. The provincial government in partnership with national line agencies is also implementing various programs to help the victims achieve justice and cope with the said experience.