Catbalogan celebrates 2016 International Women’s Day

This year’s theme is “Kapakanan ni Juana, Isama sa Agenda!” in Waray “Katungdanan ni Juana, Ig-upod ha Adyenda”. This theme resonates the call for (1) gender-balance in leadership and decision making positions both in public and private sector; (2) inclusion of women’s concerns in leadership platforms and the government’s development agenda; and (3) capacitating and preparing women and girls to reach their ambitions.

This theme is very timely especially now that it is election year. We will have the opportunity to equalize our leaders and decision makers particularly on gender representation. This is also very timely to advocate and push for inclusion of women’s issues and concerns in our candidates’ platforms and developmental agenda. And it also this period when we can lobby for more resources to be invested on our women and girls in their development thereby capacitating and preparing them to reach their ambitions.

Whenever we commemorate this very special occasion, our thoughts are often composed of three phases. First, we look back at the past. Second we reflect on the present and third, we look forward to the future.

The first phase enables us to retrace the path that we have taken in the course of this advocacy. By refreshing our memories as to how it all started, we are once again reminded as to why we chose to support this cause. And once we have started, how our campaign has slowly evolved to gain the awareness that it is enjoying now? And, most importantly, are we on the right track?

Locally, dinhe ha Catbalogan kun nahinunumduman niyo, an aton primero nga hingyap an matagan han atensyon an mga isyu nga gin-aatubang han sector han kababayen-an. Ano an aton ginhimo? Ginpatikang naton an tinuig nga pagsalin-urog han National Women’s Month, kun diin ha bug-os nga bulan han Marso gintututukan an sitwasyon han kababayen-an ngan an importansya hini ha pagkamay-ada han ungod nga hustisya ngan ekwalidad ha aton sosyedad.

The institutionalization of this annual event has helped educate the public and by simply knowing about the issue, we have reversed the tide of inequality and discrimination experienced by most women. Your presence today is a testament to how our campaign has steadily gained ground over the years.

Usa gihapon han aton mga hingyap an madugngan an kapas han women’s sector. An aton baton dinhi, mas hilawig nga bulig pagpakabuhi kun diin gintagan access ha training ngan financial assistance an kababayen-an tikan ha urban poor ngadto ha mga agricultural nga mga komunidad.

In doing this, we targeted a different kind of empowerment, which is economic empowerment – a more practical approach to what we have been preaching from day one. If we want women to be independent, let us give them the means to be independent. If we want them to gain control over their lives, let us help them gain control over their purses. This simple formula has helped boost women’s morale, motivate them to become more productive and slowly, break free from traditional roles set on them by society.

Naghingyap liwat kita nga an Catbalogan magin lugar kun diin an mga babayi mayda proteksyon ha eksploytasyon ngan pan-abusar. An aton nagin solusyon dinhi: an pagbutang han Violence Against Women Help Desk ngan mas mahugot nga kampanya hiunong han Anti – Trafficking Against Persons para ha mas malaksi nga pagresponde ha mga sugad hini nga kaso. Labot la hini, nadugngan pa an aton mga kaugop komo usa han mga pipira nga Local Government Units nga nag-organisa han MOVE o Men Opposed VAW Everywhere.

Ha maiha nga panahon, nagin dako nga lamat ha aton komunidad an kawaray aksyon kontra hini nga nga mga problema. Pinaagi hini nga mga pitad, aton guinpara an mga nakakaulang ha pagpapagawas han ungod nga potensyal han kababayen-an. Tungod liwat hini, ginpara gihap naton an usa nga nakakaulang ha pag-uswag han aton siyudad.

We did not stop here, we still endeavored to plant the seeds of Gender Equality into the deepest roots of governance; hence, we ensured active and meaningful involvement and participation of women’s sector in all developmental planning and implementation of programs, projects and activities of the City and the proper utilization of the Gender and Development Fund through planning, the part of which is incorporated into our development plan.

These are but a few of what we have already achieved. Getting to this point was never easy. As with every massive campaign, we stated with a single act of defiance, a small voice of opposition against a misguided belief of flaw in the system. Our challenge has been how we can multiply that lone voice into a crowd or a multitude. Those have been such trying times; but no matter how difficult our beginnings have been, there is still a need for us to revisit such time for it is in remembering our struggles that we realize the value of what we have gained so far.

Now that we have successfully reconciled our present with our past, it is now time for us to take the third phase – looking forward to the future. After everything that we have achieved, we face the future sharing one common conviction: that we have a legacy to protect. And because of this, we have our work cut out for us.

So what will be our next steps? As the ones who have joined, worked and witnessed the growth of this advocacy, it is our responsibility to protect and preserve the fruits of our labor. It is now more than ever; that we need to be vigilant about certain factors that could undermine what we have already started. Let us brace ourselves for these challenges; and part of being prepared is by invoking the power of the ballot as we usher in a new era in governance.
Politics aside, gamiton naton ini nga tiarabot nga piniliay para ig-undong ini nga kawsa, pinaagi han mga diskusyon ngan debate hiunong han women empowerment ngan gender equality. Ipakita naton ha katawhan an potensyal hini nga magdara han komprehensibo nga pag-uswag komo usa nga plataporma.

Let us be active and outspoken about these agenda. Let all these efforts work towards bringing about a future wherein they – the next generation – can build on the gains that we have brought about.

An tanan nga aton nabuhat, an mga programa ngan mekanismo nga aton gintukod, nga tanan ini uusa la an panuyu-anan – an matagan hi Juana han kapas nga gumios para ha iya kalugaringon nga pag-uswag. Uusa la pirmi an aton mensahe: “Juana, api ka!”

Panahon na para hi Juana, tumindog ha iya kalugaringon ngan gamiton an iya mga hibabroan para igduso an iya mga katungod ngan hiya na mismo an magsiring nga, “Ako hi Juana, api ako!”

Damo nga Salamat.


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