National Women’s Month celebration kicks off in Cotabato By Jimmy Sta. Cruz PGO Media Center

North Cotabato Gov Emmylou “Lala” J. Taliño-Mendoza with Makilala Mayor Rudy Caoagdan during the opening of the 2016 National Women's Month Celebration of Makilala.

North Cotabato Gov Emmylou “Lala” J. Taliño-Mendoza with Makilala Mayor Rudy Caoagdan during the opening of the 2016 National Women’s Month Celebration of Makilala.

AMAS, Kidapawan City (Mar 7) – The celebration of the National Women’s Month 2016 in Cotabato kicks off today with hundreds of women and various groups, organizations and gender advocates from all over the province.

A motorcade from Kidapawan City plaza to the Provincial Capitol in Amas, Kidapawan City spearheaded by the Provincial Government of Cotabato signals the opening of the month-long celebration of the women’s month anchored on the theme “Kapakanan ni Juana, Isama sa Agenda”.

According to Junmar Gonzales, Population Officer of the PGO-Population Division and Head of the Technical Working Group in charge of the preparation and program of the launching of women’s month celebration in the provincial government, the motorcade along with the activities lined-up this month aims to strengthen the role of women in the society and uphold respect and value to women.

“It is our goal to resonate the important role of women and at the same time promote women’s agenda and concerns in the community”, said Gonzales.

This is also in consonance with the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) in upholding gender-balance in leadership and decision making positions in public and private sector; women’s concerns in leadership platforms and development agenda; and capacitating and preparing women to reach their ambitions.

Part of the kick off today is the launching program of National Women’s Month celebration at the Provincial Capitol lobby highlighted by the giving of flowers and violet ribbons and balloons to women heads of offices and employees and a serenade by male employees.

Bai Ali indayla, Sec-Gen and Spokesperson of Suara Bangsamoro and Sec-Gen of Kawagib, a Moro Human Rights Organization was the guest speaker during the program.

Speaking before the Heads of Offices, personnel and dignitaries from different national agencies such as the PNP, DILG and DepEd present at the launching, Indayla emphasized the many challenges faced by women and the need to strengthen their ranks to attain equality and impartiality as well as respect as partners of men in development.

Indayla also said that women nowadays are already empowered but they still have to work harder alongside with men towards progress and ensure a better status.

Furthermore, she stressed the importance of educating women in upholding their votes particularly in the forthcoming May 9, 2016 national and local elections.

“There is a big challenge for us women to unite and let our voices be heard on the election by electing the rightful candidates or those candidates who support the interests and concerns of the Filipinos especially the women” said Indayla adding that the women comprise a large number of voting population.

Enjoining everyone to observe the women’s month, Gov Emmylou “Lala” J. Taliño-Mendoza in the radio program “Ang Kutabato Karon” said that the significant role played by women in the society from being mothers, workers or employees and leaders which is essential in the development of the country. In this regard, the governor said the provincial government will carry on upholding the rights, welfare and protection of women through legislations, programs and projects or initiatives that promote women participation.

“We owe everything to our women – our lives, families, our successes and it is just right to give them back the honor not only during women’s month celebration but in everyday of our lives”, said Gov Taliño-Mendoza.

The Province of Cotabato is the first province in the country to craft the Gender and Development (GAD) Code which Gov Taliño-Mendoza authored when she was still a Board Member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan ng Cotabato and with the help of various stakeholders, has made timely revisions and enhancements to its laws such as the GAD, Child and Youth Welfare Code and Persons With Disabilities or Differently-Abled Persons Code.

Meanwhile, aside from the motorcade and launching program, the other lined-up activities for the National Women’s Month in the Provincial Capitol include the series of training for Gender and Development (GAD) and other relevant sessions like the Kalalakihang Tumutugon sa Responsibilidad at Obligasyon Para sa mga Anak (KATROPA)) and Getting To Know You and Me (GAYM), free legal assistance, medical checkup (PAPSMEAR) and gift giving to female inmates at the North Cotabato District Jail (NCDJ) and school visitations and other activities. (JIMMY STA. CRUZ with reports from RANDY I. PATCHES/Photo by jsc/rp-PGO Media Center)