NAGA CITY - To showcase the best products of Bicol rural women entrepreneurs and to heighten awareness on various women’s livelihood projects and the various interventions and assistance available for women , the Department of Agriculture in partnership with the Camarines Sur Multipurpose Cooperative and the Philippine Commission for Women conducted the 1st Bicol Women Market Week in this city from November 30 to December, 2017.


According to Aloha Gigi Bañaria, Chief of the Planning and Monitoring Division of the Department of Agriculture Bicol and focal person of the Gender and Development (GAD) Program said activity was in line with the DA’s GAD program to empower and bring the rural women into the mainstream of development. She explains that the Philippine Commission for Women through its GREAT Women Project 2 funded by the Canadian Government has engaged the Rural Improvement Clubs of Bicol to participate in its livelihood projects after noting the viability and success of the micro enterprises of these groups.

Thirty two women’s groups and individual entrepreneurs participated in this activity which also featured discussions/presentation of various topics by successful and multi-awarded women leaders engaged in micro agri -enterprises. Among them were: Luzviminda T. Oropesa National Outstanding Rural Women2015; Cerena V. Arellano, 2nd place, National Outstanding Rural Women 2016, Myrna Acayen, National Outstanding Rural Women 2012 and International Model Farmer Awardee cited by the FAO.; Bernadette de los Santos., 2nd place National Outstanding Rural Women 2008 and currently president of Bicol GREAT Women; Adelia Q. Magsino, 2nd place National Outstanding Rural Women 2013 and; Rebecca S. Purisima, National Finalist , National Outstanding Rural Women 2017
Luzviminda Villanueva, Project Manager of the GREAT Women Project 2 personally graced the opening ceremonies and delivered a message. She said that the challenge for the project is to make the micro- enterpises of women “lumago at maging sustainable and be competitive”. She happily announced that the Women Economic Empowerment of the Philippines is regarded as a project mode for the world. 
She noted that while private sectors and organizations are actively supporting women’s group to make them economically empower many government assistance for women are not reaching or unknown to most of the women. She thus, urged women’s group to approach the various agencies for assistance. She also admonished the women to also approach successful entrepreneurs as they are great mentors. She also urged them to continue the fire, the energy and enthusiasm to alleviate themselves. 

Meanwhile , DA Bicol Regional Executive Director Elena B. de los Santos , represented by Emily B. Bordado, the chief of the information office extended her thanks to the Bicol rural participants for continuously advancing the cause and advocacies of the women. She said that the market event also serves a venue for sharing experiences and good practices among women entrepreneurs as they themselves were the resource persons during the symposium. Bordado also underscored that the Bicol women are already so empowered and their products are proof of their innovativeness, creativity and dynamism. But they need support in the promotion and marketing of their products.

Also present during the Opening program were; Atty Ma. Lourdes P. Pacao, regional director of the Cooperative Development Authority; Annielen L. Panerio, manager, MPC and Eudeza Racadag, chairperson MPC; Luz Marcelino , chief, Research Division and Rosita Imperial, OIC chief, Regulatory Division also of the DA who are also members of the DA-5 GAD Focal System, and Jeanette de Vera, Mall Manager of SM city, the venue for said event. (Emily B. Bordado)