Women’s month kick-off forum

BAGUIO CITY – (19 March 2021) – Government agencies working for women’s welfare and empowerment celebrate this month with small victories and ways to alleviate difficulties for those affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Representative for such endeavors include Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Regional Director Myrna Pablo, Dr. Shelly Macwes-Aral of the Department of Health (DOH), Atty. Jennilyn Dawayen of the Department of Agriculture (DA), RD Araceli San Jose of the Department of  Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Education (Dep-Ed CAR) RD Estela Carino, as represented by Information Officer Geraoloy Palao-ay, Regional Gender and Development Council (RGADC) vice-chair Dr Ferdinand Gonzales.

Said women leaders and advocate supporters came together for the Women’s month kick-off forum at the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) hall March 10.

According to RD Pablo, economic empower in the Cordillera region rests on the shoulders of 56,000 women out of 302,000 entrepreneurs or those in the small and medium enterprise category. In the soon to be launched Young Entrepreneurs Program (YEP), out of the 107 participants, 70 are women who are actually doing business, all within 20 to 35 years old, Pablo said.

Regional data also show that women are trailblazers, they engage in environmental programs for economic development and are entrepreneurs who take risks in business in order to support and augment limited family income specially during the global Covid-19 pandemic.

Women-entrepreneurs took part in trading, small businesses and manufacturing involving traditional and cultural-based applications including loom-weaving, weaving and woodcraft, Pablo said. Processing of small volumes of fruit and food such as peanut brittle, ube jam-making and coffee processing also thrived under maternal care, it was known.

Women also delved into financing strategies, technology upgrading and e-commerce in order to be responsive to virtual marketing, Pablo added. They got involved in the entrepreneurial Kapatid mentorship program and participated in activities as to the region’s Negosyo centers. 

For his part as vice-chair of the RGADC, Dr. Ferdinand Gonzales of the Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) People’s Organization for Social Transformation (POST) provides training and consultancy for women awareness, capacity building and linkages for national government agencies. Basic Gender and Development sensitivity, analysis, planning and budgeting, support services in income generating activities, access credit and marketing due to limited resources are also part of their services to women, he further said.

Physician Shelly Macwes-Aral of the Department of Health-CAR, intimated that DOH advocates protection for hospital and health field workers throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Those who are at risk or are pregnant were assigned to non-Covid areas, thus services were still delivered unhampered, Aral said.

Department of Agriculture (DA) Assistant Regional Director Atty. Jennilyn Dawayen said her institution endeavors assisting women farmers while being wives and mothers all at the same time. Thus a DA GAD team was formed and a focal point person is undergoing trainings for gender issue awareness, marginalized men and women’s access to economic opportunities, and expansion to agricultural and fishery products.

Technical trainings, processing, equipment and machinery for development shall be cascaded to farmers, integrated in the GAD concepts to farmers’ program implementation, Dawayen ended.   

As for empowered women in politics, DILD RD Araceli San Jose said that only 16.6% of female officials make up the political arena in the region, the ratio being one woman for every five male officials.

Georaloy Palao-ay of the Department of Education (Dep-Ed CAR) representing Regional Director Estela Leon-Carino also presented statistics and activities  as to the celebration of Womens’ month in their office.

All activities for women’s month is anchored on the theme, “Juana, Laban sa Pandemya: Kaya!”- Julie G. Fianza