Filipino women pillars of strength, solidarity – Noy

Aurea Calica - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino recognized Filipino women as pillars of strength and solidarity for their families, communities and country in the aftermath of disasters that hit the country last year.

In his message for the celebration of International Women’s Day yesterday, Aquino said his administration is one with other nations in recognizing the importance and contribution of women to society.

The President expressed admiration for the tireless Filipino women who take care of their families and other people to help the country rise from the challenges.

He said that in the aftermath of disasters, it becomes clear that every nation has an obligation to make their people safe and always maintain a high state of readiness against those challenges.

Vice President Jejomar Binay also lauded Filipino women, saying that the celebration of women’s day “underscores the practice of gender equality” and pays tribute to the resilience of Filipino women, especially during calamities.

Since its birth in the socialist movement, International Women’s Day has grown to become a global day of recognition and celebration of women across developed and developing countries.

Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. took the opportunity to announce that the Philippines would begin this month the assessment of the progress of its commitments under the Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA) of 1995 in preparation for the 20-year global review next year.

The BPfA is an international accord of women’s rights created during the Fourth World Conference on Women of the United Nation in Beijing in 1995. It has the backing of some 189 countries, including the Philippines.

The BPfA includes key areas of concern needing action such as women and poverty, violence against women and access to power and decision-making.

According to Ochoa, the Philippine report would be crafted by stakeholders in the government and non-government sectors and would be tackled during the Women’s Consultative Conference this month.

“The Philippine experience can very well be a major contribution to this review as the world looks at more opportunities for gender equality and empowerment, and for broadening advocacy in the promotion and protection of women’s rights after 2015,” Ochoa said.

Legarda: Continue women empowerment

For her part, Sen. Loren Legarda said that the country must continue building on its gains in women empowerment as the leading nation in Southeast Asia in closing the gender gap.

She noted that the country has been very progressive on the issues of women empowerment and gender equality through the introduction of various policies aimed at continuously improving on these aspects.

“Filipino women are involved in all sectors of our society. In fact, they are present in more than a hundred countries around the world, caring for children and parents not their own, and operating businesses and industries as part of the force that drives the growth of the global community. We are sharing 10 million Filipinos with the rest of the world, and 60 percent of them are women,” Legarda said.

“This reality compels us to continuously search for measures that will protect our women at home and beyond,” she added.

In November last year, the Philippine government was given the Award for Closing the Gender Gap in South and Southeast Asia at the Women in Parliaments Global Forum in Brussels, Belgium.

The award, which was received by Legarda as representative of the government, was given to the Philippines for ranking first among nations in South and Southeast Asia in the World Economic Forum’s survey of nations’ ability to close the gender gap.

PCG recognizes female officers

In the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), meanwhile, gone are the days when women in uniform limit their work to behind the desk.

In celebration of the women’s month, the PCG will recognize the contribution of all its female enlisted personnel and officers in the execution of the agency’s maritime functions and operations.

The PCG will honor the outstanding service of Lieutenant Commander Pauline Diciano, the agency’s first female pilot; Lieutenant Commander Perlita Petinglay-Cinco, first female vessel commanding officer; and Lieutenant Junior Grade Nenette Paiton, first female officer of the elite diving team Special Operations Group (SOG).

“Before the role of female officers was just limited to administrative matters. But this one is peculiar because like in the case of Diciano, she has helped monitor territorial waters,” PCG spokesman Commander Armand Balilo said yesterday.

“It is about time that we highlight the change, that women are being given a more active role in our operations. No one can prevent them from being the commandant someday,” he added. – With Marvin Sy, Evelyn Macairan, Jose Rodel Clapano, Rhodina Villanueva, Artemio Dumlao

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