BAGUIO CITY (PIA) - - Highlighting the important role of women in bringing in inclusive growth and sustainable development, the Regional Development Council’s Regional Gender and Development Committee (RGADC) recently spearheaded a Kapihan media forum dubbed “Juana Says, Ano ang Agenda ng mga Kababaihan ng Kordilyera.”
Here, five empowered women from different sectors of society, shared their thoughts and ideas on gender mainstreaming and community development.
Clemencia Basilio Lapas, representing the sector of agriculture, talked about the need for women to be proud and strong in pushing for their ideals and dreams.
“To all women out there, fight like a woman because you are unique and powerful in every possible way. Be yourself, always be proud, stay positive and strong. May your dreams come true,” she said.
Lapas is Cordillera’s 2020 Most Outstanding COVID – 19 volunteer awardee. A cutflower and vegetable farmer and trader, she initiated the collection, transport and distribution of donated vegetables for free to countless households in the region and even parts of Ilocos, that were affected by the pandemic.
Women entrepreneur Maurcia Lou Carpio, owner of Everything is Pine, a local handcraft business with products that uniquely utilize pine needles, shared how their business strives to produce world – class products that gave spotlight to the Cordilleran art of weaving.
Meanwhile, Dr. Lucia Balwayan Ruiz Ruiz, an Outstanding Women Leader of Baguio awardee in 2021 for championing Indigenous Peoples’ Education (IPED), talked about the need to further strengthen and awareness on the IP Rights Act that are important in empowering women in indigenous communities.
As an educator worked in several higher education institutions in the city, she continues to share her expertise of Cordillera culture and IP knowledge, systems and practices.
For the governance sector, Regional Development Council Private Sector Representative and former La Trinidad, Benguet Mayor Edna Tabanda discussed the need for more Cordillera women actively working as community and political leaders as she highlighted the important role of women in nation building.
Jeff Tamondong, representing the LGBTQIA+ community, calls for equal right to education, employment and health and in serving the people of Cordillera.
“My message is simple, transgender women are women, and as I represent the LGBTQIA plus community, please allow us to give our services to the people of the Cordillera, may it be in the armed forces, entrepreneurship, politics, education, medicine and in health. And please allow us to enjoy our rights in education, our right to employment and to our right to health”, she stressed.
A transgender woman, Tamondong who works as Licensing Officer II at the Department of Health – Cordillera, is proud that she being equally treated as among the women personnel of the office.
Joining the empowered women panelists in the forum were RGADC Chairperson and Department of Education Regional Director Estela Cariño, Vice chairperson RDC PSR Ferdinand Gonzales and Commission on Population Regional Director Magdalena Abellera.
The RGADC, is the highest policy – making body in the region that recommends policies and programs on gender mainstreaming that is, making women’s as well as men’s concerns and experiences an integral dimension of development planning including legislation and policies or programs in all areas and at all level. (JDP/CCD-PIA CAR)