Women Empowerment – The Cordillera Regional Gender and Development Committee (RGADC) caps a successful celebration of the National women’s month through a Kapihan forum attended by empowered women from different sectors in CAR.

BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) through the Regional Gender and Development Committee (RGADC) culminated this year’s National Women’s Month Celebration in the region through a Kapihan held on March 31, 2022 with the theme “#JUANASAYS: Ano ang Agenda ng mga Kababaihan ng Kordillera?”. This is in support of the 2022 National Women’s Month Celebration sub-theme “Agenda ng Kababaihan, Tungo sa Kaunlaran”.

RGADC-CAR Chairperson and DepEd-CAR Regional Director Estela Cariño mentioned that this year’s culminating activity is different as government officials “take the backseat” to listen instead to private sector women leaders. The panel included the region’s most outstanding 2020 COVID-19 volunteer Ms. Clemencia B. Lapas representing the agricultural sector; Baguio City’s 2021 Most Outstanding Women Leader Dr. Lucia B. Ruiz for Indigenous Peoples Education (IPED); an empowered transwoman Ms. Jeff Tamondong for the health and LGBTQIA+ sector; RDC private sector representative Ms. Edna Tabanda for governance; and local business owner Ms. Maurcia L. Carpio for economic empowerment.

Ms. Edna Tabanda underscored the gap of women representation in government and other policy and decision-making bodies in the country. She also mentioned that in the 2019 National and Local Election, only 20.16 percent (8,782) on the candidates were females and cited existing laws that upholds the fundamental equality before the law of women and men and that recognizes the vital role of women in nation building. Ms. Tabanda then encouraged the women of the Cordillera to be involved in policy and decision-making towards the achievement of gender-equality and regional development.

Other agenda of the women representatives include the regulation of vegetable smuggling affecting local farmers in the region; expansion of interventions for MSMEs and sustaining of start-up support system for women entrepreneurs; integration of IPRA in school curriculum; improved access to health services, nutrition, and family planning services for women and LGBTQIA+ community which also extends to the latter’s non-conventional families. The panel called upon the next administration to provide equal opportunities for women in the different sectors of the community and more women representation to decision making bodies that affects the development of the region.

Dr. Ferdinand Gonzales, the Co-chairperson of the RGADC-CAR and RDC private sector representative, underscored the role of men in empowering women through policy support and recommendations. Dir. Cariño summarizes this in a sharp-witted play of the famous quotation “behind every woman’s success, is a man” as she recognizes the importance of men’s support both in and out of the household to the advancement of women. With the local and national elections nearing, RGADC-CAR Vice-chairperson Dir. Magdalena G. Abellera hoped to see women’s agenda advanced at the national level.

The Cordillera RGADC, is a support committee of the RDC that recommends policies and programs on gender mainstreaming and gender equality in the region. Among the upcoming activities of the committee as outlined by Dir. Abellera includes the conduct of the GAD Focal Point System (GFPS) assembly and the certification of the Cordillera GAD Resource Pool this year. NEDA-CAR provides secretariat and technical services.