GAD advocates of CALABARZON coming from regional line agencies, local government units, the academe, and some private sector representatives gathered in the 8th Regional Gender and Development Convention spearheaded by the Regional GAD Committee under its Chairperson, NEDA IV-A Regional Director Luis G. Banua on September 4-6, 2019 at The Bayleaf in the City of Gen. Trias. The province of Cavite co-hosted the three-day event with Cavite State University and the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW).
Bannering the theme, “Gender and Development towards Attaining the Country’s Development Agenda”, the annual gathering aims to gather GAD movers in the region to discuss pressing gender issues, share best practices and encourage networking for future GAD collaborations. This year’s event was opened to other RGADC from all over the country to promote learning and sharing activities on GAD. Packed with a powerhouse of speakers and timely learning inputs, the convention became a venue for insightful discourse and sharing moments which strengthened the move for gender equality and women and empowerment.
On behalf of Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla, former Board Member Irene Bencito welcomed the delegations from the different provinces and agencies to Cavite. Likewise, Cavite State University President, Dr. Hernando Robles imparted his message of support to the program reflecting CVSU’s commitment to the GAD advocacy. Undersecretary Jose Miguel Dela Rosa of NEDA served as the keynote speaker and he shared how Ambisyon 2040 reflects the dream of what Filipinos wish to accomplish as a nation to uplift the life of all in a sustained manner. He emphasized how GAD recognizes that both men and women are capable of good leadership and how it invests in knowledge sharing to achieve the goal of eliminating violence and empowering women towards inclusive development.
Among the roster of speakers were Assistant Regional Director Gina Gacusan and Ms Lovely S. Mores, Senior Economic Development Specialist both of NEDA Region IV-A, and Ms. Maria Kristine Josefina Balmes, Deputy Director of the PCW. They set the context on the first plenary session with talks on the Philippine and the CALABARZON development agenda as well as the GAD initiatives, and the current of state of Filipino women. DPWH Undersecretary Maria Catalina Cabral shared the department’s initiatives in mainstreaming GAD in infrastructure projects taking into consideration the varying needs and concerns of different sectors in planning, design and other aspects of project implementation. Cavite Provincial Nutrition Action Officer Helen Peñalba talked about the Challenges of Maternal and Child Nutrition as a gender and development concern and the move to address them by scaling up national and local health and nutrition programs thru Rupublic Act 11148 or the Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Mag-Nanay Act. PCW Chief GAD Specialist Nharleen Santos-Millar discussed GAD agenda setting which is the basis for GAD planning and budgeting.
Break-out sessions were conducted for RLAs, LGUs and academic institutions to focus on topics more relevant to the organization and GAD issues more commonly observed in their field. For instance, the mainstreaming of GAD in higher education institutions and the issues of people with diverse SOGIEs in schools were discussed in the academe group. For LGUs, the GAD indicators in the Seal of Good Local Governance, SOGIE legislation and the different GAD tools for assessment were among the topics.
Highlighting the third day of the convention was a very informative and interesting talk show hosted by Mr. Alex Czar Masiglat, Chief of the Plans and Program section of the Office of Civil Defense Region IV-A, on the GAD advocacies initiated by men and the concerns of the LGBTQ community. He was joined by guests Mr. Ricky Bunao of DSWD Region IV-A and current Vice Chair of Men Opposed to VAW Everywhere (MOVE) Philippines, Inc., Major Marco Antonio Magisa of the Philippine Army for the organization’s non-discriminatory policies and initiatives, Mr. Harold David of the Commission on Population Development Region IV who shared the Kalalakihang Tapat sa Responsibilidad at Obligasyon sa Pamilya (KATROPA) program, and Ms. Florita Lachica, Assistant PSWDO of Batangas and a vocal advocate of the SOGIE equality bill.