CALABANGA, Camarines Sur—More than 500 women farmers and rural folks flocked to the Jose de Villa National High school covered court here to be informed of their rights and avail of various services offered by the government.
The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) led the first leg of the DAR’s gender and development (GAD) project called Caravan for Rural Women.
The caravan seeks to provide farmers, particularly the women, children, senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs) on their basic rights and services; and to protect women farmers and their children against violence in various forms.
DAR GAD National Steering Committee vice-chaired by DAR Undersecretary Teresita Vistro said the caravan strives to strengthen women farmers by orienting them on the laws affecting women and children.
“A major part of the caravan is teaching the rural womenfolk on what to do and where to go if they or their children become victims of abuse and violence,” said Vistro.
“We would also like to inform everyone that DAR has established women’s desks in all our regional and provincial offices where rural women, women farmers and children can go to for help and assistance if abuses were committed to them,” added Vistro.
Vistro also emphasized the importance women play in community development. “With this caravan, we at DAR aims to empower women by helping them organize themselves towards nation-building. We are rolling out support services projects and seminar-workshops to hone them in becoming business entrepreneurs just like their farmer-husbands.”
According to GAD Secretariat Head Atty. Althea Oliveros, the Caravan for Rural Women targets to serve at least 500 women farmer-beneficiaries and their families in the Bicol region alone.
“This endeavor seeks to serve the rural womenfolk and their families not only with government services but also by informing them of their rights and how to protect themselves from abuse and violence,” Oliveros said.
In this first leg of the caravan, the DAR invited officers from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP) to talk on women’s rights, violence against women and children; and DAR oriented the womenfolk on the Magna Carta on women.
Oliveros said the DAR invited various government agencies to join the caravan in going from town to town providing and informing the rural folks of each agency’s programs and projects on women. Each government agency pledged services they will offer on this first leg of the caravan.
The succeeding leg will be conducted in Sorsogon, Leyte, Northern Samar and Southern Leyte.
The caravan is participated in by the DAR, the departments of Agriculture (DA), health (DOH), labor (DOLE), irrigation (NIA), environment (DENR), The Phil. Army, Phil. National Police (PNP), Phil Health, Bureau of Soils, the Office of the Presidential Affairs on Peace Process (OPAP) and the local government units.
Photo 1: DAR GAD National Steering Committee vice chair Teresita Vistro, encourages the womenfolk to not be afraid in standing-up for their rights.
Photo 2: GAD Secretariat Head Atty. Althea Oliveros oriented the womenfolk of the magna carta of women. Also in photo: Calabanga Mayor and Vice Mayor Eduardo Severo and Ramoncito Robles; Irrigation Officer Manuel Vender, DTI Officer Mark John Abugagao, Phil. Army Major Brelyn Bitoy and OPAP Officer Janine Yao.
Photo 3: More than 500 women farmers and rural folks flocked to the Jose de Villa National High School covered court to avail of government services.
Photo 4: The womenfolk in a focused group discussion on peace and security facilitated by OPAP Officer Janine Yao (center).
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