Kamindanawan, a celebratory gathering of Mindanao women leaders, is set to honor tomorrow some 11 Mindanawon women and one man who have “broken silences, barriers and new ground for women.”
The Mindanao Commission on Women (MCW) will give honor and recognition to the Mindanawon achievers in time for MCW's 10th anniversary on December 8 when the Kamindanawan event will take place.
Among the honorees are Mindanews editor Carol Arguillas; Islamic scholar Prof. Hamid Barra; renowned Moro woman leader Hadja Bainon Karon; and peace activists Raissa Jajurie, Myla Leguro, and Obo-Manobo tribal chieftain Bo-i Era Espana.
The other honorees are national artist for dance Agnes Locsin; Davao-based obstetrics-gynecology specialist Dr. Regina Dela Paz-Ingente, and Betty More who is executive director of the Kababayen-an Alang sa Teknolohiya nga Haum sa Kinaiyahan ng Kauswagan, Inc. (KATAKUS).
Also set to be recognized are Major Rosa Ma. Cristina R. Manuel, the first female battalion executive officer of the 10th Civil Military Operations (CMO) Battalion of the Armed Forces of the Philippines; and Chief Inspector Grace Taculin of the Davao City Jail.
Director Zenaida Hadji-Raof Laidan of the Department of Science and Technology in Region 12 is also among the Mindanao achievers. Laidan initiated the establishment of the only existing halal laboratory in the country.
According to MCW press statement, the recognition was based on the achievements of the honorees from the three categories set by MCW.
The categories are: those who broke the silence (i.e. spoke of issues not openly discussed), barriers (i.e. engaged in fields traditionally dominated by men), or new ground (i.e. introduced innovations and breakthroughs).
MCW chair emerita and chief executive officer Irene M. Santiago said, “MCW believes that it is only fitting that we give recognition to these persons at this year's Kamindanawan.”
Santiago said that the occasion will center on the theme “Women. Seriously!,” anchored on MCW's slogan and goal: “for women to be taken seriously.”
Santiago said that MCW has “tremendously advanced the status of women in Mindanao since it was established on December 8, 2001.”
She admitted though that “much still needs to be done.”
Maria Ressa, author-in-residence of The International Center for Political Violence and Terrorism Research in Singapore, will grace the celebration as the keynote speaker.
Ressa will discuss on “Social Media for Social Change.” She was formerly head of the ABS-CBN News and Public Affairs.
Another resource person is executive director of Coalition Against Trafficking in Women – Asia Pacific (CATW-AP) Jean Enriquez who will tackle on “The Scourge of Human Trafficking.”
Meanwhile, program manager Myla Leguro of the Catholic Relief Services Peace and Reconciliation Program will talk on “Peacebuilding from Below” during the event.
Santiago said that the celebration slated on December 8-9 will kick off with opening rituals at 8:30 a.m. at the People's Park.
This will be followed by a short parade to the Royal Ballroom of Royal Mandaya Hotel for the formal opening and recognition ceremonies.
Aside from Santiago, MCW chair Margie Moran Floirendo and MCW vice-chair Dr. Melchora Ambalong will also take the lead in the occasion.
Minister counselor for Development Cooperation Program Titon Mitra of the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) is also expected to honor the celebration.
MCW was formed and institutionalized ten years ago by Muslim, Christian and indigenous women leaders of Mindanao.
The group aims to “influence public policy and public opinion by incorporating the women's perspective in peace and development with the goal “For women to be taken seriously.”
During a gathering of Mindanao's young women leaders in October this year, Santiago has stated: “For if women are taken seriously, I have no doubt that the challenges of our era for human security and peace will be resolved with a combination of good sense, compassion, and boldness which are hallmarks of women's leadership.”