Over 100 participants from government and nongovernment sectors attended the talk series entitled ‘Breaking Barriers’ last March 28 at the NEDA Regional Office (NRO) VI, Fort San Pedro, Iloilo City. The event was spearheaded by the Regional Gender and Development Committee (RGADC) of the Regional Development Council (RDC) VI in celebration of Women’s Month this year.
The activity was conceptualized to recognize the efforts of women in Western Visayas, who took bold steps toward careers traditionally pursued by men. The activity also sought to present information and data on women engaged in male-dominated careers and to better understand the situation of women and girls who experienced emotional trauma.
In her welcome message, RDC VI Acting Chairperson and Regional Director Ro-Ann A. Bacal of NRO VI emphasized the need to address gender gaps in society such as political representation and gender-based violence, among others, through continuous advocacy. She also highlighted how women broke barriers in the past and bring about empowerment and positive social change at present. Five speakers imparted their experiences related to this year’s theme ‘WE Make Change Work for Women’.
Captain Ramilie Ortega-Villaruz talked about the challenges she experienced working for several years at sea in a chemical tanker. She is the first female scholar of the Philippine Transmarine Careers and became a first cadet in a tanker vessel at the age of 19, and eventually became a master mariner.
Former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) General Ramona Palabrica-Go from San Enrique, Iloilo, meanwhile, shared how she rose from the ranks to become the first woman line general of the AFP.
Runji Jamolo, a local broadcast journalist, shared the struggles of local women journalists which include economic constraints, dealing with domestic concerns and graveyard shifts. Her radio program Babayinihan, through the years has covered various topics on womanhood and women empowerment.
Dr. Valerie Andora-Quilaton, a resident psychiatrist of Cameleon Association, imparted how her commitment to her career and on making change work for young women and girl-children has paved avenues for victim-survivors of sexual abuse to overcome psychological barriers, recover from trauma and achieve their full potential.
Franklin Quimpo, an advocate among men and a member of Men Opposed to Violence Everywhere (MOVE) in Aklan, on the other hand, also shared how men can work in solidarity with women to combat violence.
IGPahila, DRD-NRO VI
Photos by NRO VI