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)