Women legislators from the different municipalities of Cotabato Province were recognized by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Cotabato during its 77th Regular Session held on March 16 at the Session Hall, Gov. Rosario Diaz Building, Amas, Kidapawan City.

The said activity was part of the celebration of the National Women’s Month 2021.

In her message, Board Member Rose Cabaya, Chairperson of Sangguniang Panlalawigan’s Committee on Gender and Development, Family Affairs and Social Services, emphasized that the provincial council under the leadership of Vice Governor Emmylou T. Mendoza aims to create and facilitate platforms to uplift every “Juana” throughout the Province of Cotabato whatever their life status to be more resilient amidst the crisis brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the session, the invited lady legislators were also given time to deliver a privilege speech.

Hon. Chelin Monica J. Arańa, Chairperson of the SB Committee on Gender and Development & Family, manifested her joy that women are in governance and public service.

“Kami rin sa Sangguniang Bayan ng Midsayap ay nagsisikap na isulong ang mainstreaming ng gender and development. It makes me proud na marami na tayong mga babae sa public service. First time akong na-elect sa bayan ng Midsayap and the youngest legislator. Marami pa tayong magagawa para sa ating mga kababayan.”

Hon. Arańa also shared the words of a woman of strength and inspiration, Angelina Jolie, – “Do not go silent. Raise your voices. Use your influence to inspire the next generation of men to honor women.”

She then urged everyone to support the national government in mainstreaming gender and development and in recognizing the efforts of women to fight the spread of the coronavirus disease.

“Let us join together to answer the call of President Rodrigo Duterte to advocate women’s rights not only this women’s month but every day of our lives”. We have seen the great contribution of women in this fight of the COVID-19 pandemic. My salute to our women frontliners.”

Hon. Justine Clio M. Ostique, Chairperson of the SB Committee on Education, shared that it is important to partner with men and to unite for a greater purpose.

“Most men want to help. They are not our enemies. They are our allies. Let us join forces and work together with them to take concrete steps in advocating for gender equality.”

Hon. Ostique also encouraged women to embrace personal leadership style and to hold on to core values.

“Let us adjust our mind sets, shed our limiting beliefs, and maintain openness to the idea that many of our experiences have prepared us well to be a leader.

She added, “I would like to remind every strong woman in this hall, to be beautiful and be wise. Focus on our goal. Glow and grind because it is said that, one woman can make a difference but together, we can rock the world”.

Hon. Maria Belen B. Sabio, Chairperson of the SB Committee on Finance, Budget and Appropriation, Ways & Means, emphasized the important role of women in governance and in serving the community.

“I am proud that I am part of what is Midsayap now – a very progressive and competitive town not only in the Province of Cotabato but in the entire Philippines”, said Sabio.

Hon. Sabio also expressed her gratitude to the Provincial Government of Cotabato for the development programs implemented in the Municipality of Midsayap.

“Thank you very much to our Governor Nancy Catamco for inspiring us to continue our mission entrusted to us. My heartfelt gratitude also to our Sangguniang Panlalawigan headed by Vice Governor Lala Talińo-Mendoza for all your support to our legislative actions that need review and approval”, said Sabio.

Honorables Sabio, Arańa, and Ostique were delighted that women legislators were acknowledged by the provincial government in time of the celebration of the Women’s Month.

Moreover, Cotabato Vice Governor Mendoza expressed her gratitude to her fellow women leaders for their presence and encouraged them to continue their services to the people.

Mendoza said that the women legislators in the Province of Cotabato are recognized for their valuable participation in championing the cause of all “Juanas” by ensuring that their rights are respected and their tremendous contribution to economic development are recognized.

Meanwhile, women legislators of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan – Board Member Shirlyn Macasarte-Villanueva, Board Member Ivy Martia Lei Dalumpines-Ballitoc, Board Member Maria Krista Pińol- Solis, Board Member Dulia Sultan and Board Member Sarah Joy Simblante, also gave their messages of empowerment to their fellow women leaders who were present during the 77th session of the provincial council.  

The SP also honored Hon. Judge Lily Lydia Laquindanum, Yvone Saliling, USM Alumni Association President, Framer Mella, President of Southern Philippines Methodist College, and Atty. Emma Ferenal-Andano, Former President of Integrated Bar of the Philippines North Cotabato Chapter.

The lady legislators were given certificates of appreciation, a bouquet, a cake and a planting material.

The celebration of the National Women’s Month focuses on the theme “We Work Change Work for Women; Juana Laban sa Pandemya: Kaya!”

Photo Credit: Councilor Chelin Arańa via Board Member Shirlyn Macasarte, Councilor Justine Clio Ostique, Councilor Maria Belen B. Sabio, Lala Cares FB Page