LINGAYEN, Pangasinan – Leveling up awareness and recognition to the pivotal roles of women in the society have been echoed anew and given with deeper meaning with the holding of Provincial Women’s Congress recently at the Narciso Ramos Sports and Civic Center (NRSCC) Gymnasium.
In celebration of the 2015 National Women’s Month, the women’s congress, organized by the provincial government led by Governor Amado T. Espino, Jr. through the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO), gathered together almost one thousand women representing the Kalipunan ng Liping Pilipina Nasyonal. Inc. (KALIPI) – Pangasinan Chapter and Rural Improvement Clubs (RICs), including some Barangay Health Workers (BHWs) and Persons With Disabilities (PWDs), women in uniform and students of Pangasinan State University who are taking up Bachelor of Science in Social Work (BSSW).
Vice Governor Jose Ferdinand Z. Calimlim, Jr., who represented Governor Espino as guest of honor and speaker, cited in his speech the importance of the women sector in the society.
“Totoo na ang empowerment o pagbibigay ng recognition sa mga kababaihan ay pawang pinakamahalagang bagay ngayon dahil kapantay po kayo ng lahat ng mamamamayan ng ating bayan na dapat talagang pakinggaan at bigyang-pagpupugay,” Vice Governor Calimlim said.
In recognition to the crucial role women play in the society, Calimlim said that the present provincial administration has implemented programs to empower Pangasinense women in the grassroots level.
To date, the provincial government has released a total of Php41 million livelihood loans from the trust fund of the province to support the livelihood ventures of 135 cooperatives and women associations, including KALIPI organizations, in various barangays in the province.
Meanwhile, Board Member Amado I. Espino, III, Liga ng mga Barangay Provincial President, said that the women’s congress ‘reaffirms the commitment of Pangasinense women to their organizations, families and relatives.’
“Empowering women in barangays by providing them with livelihood resources would eventually lessen the tasks of barangay captains and municipal officials,” the young Espino said as he assured the support of the 1,333 barangay captains in the province on the endeavors of women groups.
Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer Emil Samson, on the other hand, said that the provincial women’s congress is the culmination of various activities conducted by municipal and city LGUs in the province in observance of the women’s month celebration.
Activities conducted in various LGUs include: fund-raising activities; search for Mrs. KALIPI, Outstanding Women in the Community and Most Active Barangay KALIPI; sports fest; clean and green activity, symposium and training among others.
“Layunin ng pagtitipong ito na pagyabungin at paigtingin ang mga kaalaman at pananaw ng kababaihan tungo sa kanilang magagawa; linawin ang kanilang sitwasyong kinasasadlakan at kakahantungan sa iba’t ibang hamon ng pagiging isang babae,” Samson pointed out.
A symposium with Atty. Anna Luz Cristal, City Secretary of Makati, served as an avenue to elucidate among the women participants their queries on existing laws — Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children (RA 9262) and Magna Carta of Women of 2009 (RA 9710).
After the discussions on women rights, the Junior Chamber International (JCI) – Philippines led by its National President, Dagupan City Vice Mayor Brian Lim, also launched the “JCI Project Overview on Pinay Power,” a program which seeks to empower the women sector through various support activities.
Also present during the women’s congress were: Lingayen Municipal Councilor Ma. Andrea Meneses, JCI – Northern Luzon Chair and provincial KALIPI officers led by Consolacion Penuliar.
By Dexter A. See