NAGA CITY, CAM.SUR – Over 200 Bicolana women took center stage as they celebrate the day and month specially declared to honor them - the International Women’s Day on March 8 and the national women’s month in simple but meaningful activity held at the Avenue Convention Plaza here. The activity held on March 7 was spearheaded by the Department of Agriculture Regional Office and was graced by DA undersecretary for Special Concerns Bernadette Romulo-Puyat , who is also the chairperson of the DA-Gender and Development (GAD) Focal System.
The main feature of the event was the forum where women who have made their mark and outstanding contributions in their respective fields shared their multiple roles, experiences, coping mechanisms and inspiring stories as a testimony to their strength, indefatigable spirit and resiliency. This is in conjunction with this year’s theme: “Juana, ang Tatag Mo ay Tatag Natin sa Pagbangon at Pagsulong”, to pay tribute to the women who brought inspiring changes and transformation in our country and worldwide.
One such strong and resilient woman who shared her story which brought to tears and touched the hearts but uplifted the spirit of the participants was Cora C. Dadizon, a retired DA personnel, from Palo, Leyte now a volunteer leader and coordinator in their archdiocese. She shared the pain, agony and despair of her fellow victims of Yolanda. But through it all she discerned that God has called her to help her own people rise from the wreckage and start rebuilding their life again by God’s grace and the outpouring love and generosity of people from all over the world. She thanked the Bicolanos for being truly good neighbors, as they were the first to come to the rescue and still continue to help them.
Another empowered woman worth emulating who shared her experiences and good practices as a farmer was Adelia Q. Magsino from Goa, Camarines Sur who was 2nd placer in DA’s National Outstanding Rural Women and TOFARM National Awardee. The two other women who shared their knowledge and experiences were: Dr. Cely S. Binoya of the Central Bicol State University of Agriculture (CBSUA who discussed the Role of Women in Disaster or Emergency Preparedness and May Gianan, secretary of the Calatagan-Tibang Rural Improvement Club in Virac, Catanduanes who was adjudged National Gawad Saka Outstanding RIC in 2012. Usec, Puyat, herself an epitome of an empowered woman commended the Bicolano women especially those in the agriculture who have gained national and even international recognition for contributing significantly.
Aside from Magsino she mentioned Myrna Asor, from Goa who was also awarded and recognized by FAO last year as One of the Model Framers in the Asia-Pacific, Bernadette de los Santos from Baao, Susan Aceron from Camarines Norte, Marife Bonsobre from Masbate, Lydia Lomibao, Julie Arboleda, Mediatrix Villanueva and Eden Ayo all successful and recognized entrepreneurs. She also complimented the creativity ,ingenuity and resourcefulness of Bicolanas as evident in the various products they have made out of local materials which were on display at the venue. As a manifestation of DA’s support to the women’s group various agricultural inputs and tools worth P1,449,500.00 were distributed to women’s groups during the occasion. These consisted of 1,500 packets of vegetable seeds, 90 bags corn seeds, 250 heads native chicken, 160 sets farm tools, 4 oven and 4 sets of cooking utensils, 7 hand tractors and 3 threshers, and AKBAY livelihood checks worth P190,000.00. Likewise, a check amounting to P48,550 representing the proceeds generated from the registration during the Run for Rice event last November was turned over by Cristine Ojeda and Emily Bordado , the focal person for the NYR to the DA management through Dir. Bragas who in turn turned over it to the Employees Union represented by vice president Lorenzo Alvina. Said amount will be given to the victims of Yolanda in Region 8. Also present during the occasion were: Naga City Mayor John G. Bongat, RTD Ellen de los Santos, RTD Edgar R. Madrid, Mary Ann Molina, OIC-RD of PhilFIDA. Sorsogon Congresswoman and widow of the late Salvador Escudero III, Evie Escudero also dropped by briefly and gave her message. (Emily B. Bordado)