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Capitol gears up for National Women’s Month celebration

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The province of Cebu through the Cebu Provincial Women’s Commission gears up for the month-long National Women’s celebration with a three-day activity to be ushered in by the 18th Cebu Provincial Women’s Congress on March 14 at the Capitol Social Hall.

On March 15 – March 16, the Provincial Women’s Commission has lined up a two-day orientation seminar on Trauma Informed Care for 150 local social workers, partner civil society groups and law enforcement officers.

The celebration will be capped by a search for the “Renaissance Queen,” co-sponsored by Ng Khai Development Corporation.

The programs for the Women’s Month celebration were finalized during a meeting last Thursday in the office of Vice Governor Agnes Magpale together with members of the Gender and Development Focal Point Systems and the GFPS Technical Working Group.

Magpale co-chairs the Provincial Women’s Commission together with Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III.

Theme of the 18th Provincial Women’s Congress is, “Through Co-operativism, we make change work for women”.

The co-op themed Congress is expected to draw some 400 women participants from local government units, civil society and members of women self-help organizations including cooperative leaders and one international speaker who will share insights drawn from their life-long involvement with cooperatives.

According to Vice Governor and PWC co-chair Agnes Magpale the province has assisted some 50 women groups through skills and livelihood training programs that enabled them to engage in micro enterprises.

Magpale said that a few years back, the province extended micro credit to organized women’s groups but the program failed because many failed to pay back the money they borrowed.

In an interview, Magpale sounded upbeat about the prospects of pay for work to benefit women’s groups in the tree planting and tree growing program of the province.

Governor Hilario Davide III looks to plant millions of trees throughout his term, a project that the PWC sees as an opportunity for women to get engaged in environmental activities with pay.

The vice governor revealed the cash for work program will be piloted in Daanbantayan where 17 women’s groups composed of 750 women will be mobilized to plant trees close to the town’s riverbank.

The Department of Labor and Employment has committed to fund the program with a budget of at least P4 million. The women will render work for 15 to 30 days under the supervision of local government units.

The cash for work program will also be replicated in areas badly hit by natural calamities like Barili and Asturias, according to Magpale.

Invited to keynote the Congress is Ms. Carla Leon-Decker, President and CEO of DC Federal Credit Union based in Washington DC. She is also co-founder of the Network of Latino Credit Unions and Professionals NLCUP.

Ms. Decker sits on the board of the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA/CLUSA) and the Cooperative Development Foundation.

She is the US representative to the International Cooperative Alliance ICA America’s Region Board. She is a towering figure in the US credit union sector, noted for her innovative and collaborative efforts for financial inclusion of underserved Hispanic communities in Washington DC.

The resource panel is composed of two cooperative leaders and a regulator.

Maria Elena “Ellen” Limocon, general manager of the highly diversified and multi-awarded Lamac Multi-Purpose Cooperative based in Pinamungahan, Cebu, will talk on the topic, “Women Empowerment Through Agricultural Cooperatives.”

Also in the panel is Divina Quemi, CEO of the Nuestra Segovia Consortium of Cooperatives NSCC, who will talk on cooperative tourism as a means towards women empowerment.

Vigan City where NSCC is based is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its preserved heritage and environmentally-sound state policies that boost its sustainable tourism industry.
Mercedes Castillo, a member of the Cooperative Development Authority Board of Administrators will also grace the Women’s Congress to shed light on issues that women’s groups have raised with respect to cooperative registration.

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