08 March 2024 | 27 Shaʻban 1445 AH

Cotabato City – This year’s Kick-Off Ceremony for the National Women’s Month celebration was another resounding success for the Bangsamoro Women Commission. Held at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex in Cotabato City, the ceremony brought together women leaders, advocates, and community members to honor the achievements and contributions of women in society.

The ceremony began with a lively parade featuring employees from different BARMM agencies and organizations including the Maguindanao Del Norte delegates who have shown their support and solidarity for the advancement of women’s rights in the region. Under the theme, “WE for Gender Equity and Inclusive Society: Lipunang Patas sa Bagong Pilipinas; Kakayahan ng Kababaihan, Patutunayan!” the ceremony aimed to emphasize the importance of gender equity and inclusivity in building a new Bangsamoro that values the capabilities and contributions of women.

BWC Chairperson Bainon G. Karon said in her speech, “The notable increase of 9.12% in the 2022 GAD Fund utilization of the Bangsamoro Government is a manifestation of our commitment to promoting gender equity, equality, and women empowerment in the Bangsamoro region.”

Despite her absence from the program, Vice President and concurrent DepEd Secretary Sarah Duterte-Carpio expressed her solidarity and shared her support message which was read by one of the hosts. In her message, VP Duterte highlighted her call for continued efforts in promoting gender equality. “Let us stand in solidarity with victims of violence. Let us encourage adequate and proper public education. Help organizations that are sincere champions of women’s rights and welfare. Let us support legislation that benefit women,” VP Duterte urged. Other speakers also conveyed their message of support for women’s leadership and participation in community development throughout the event, including BARMM Chief Minister HON. AHOD B. EBRAHIM, MILG Minister Atty. Sha-Elijah Dumama-Alba, Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) Officer-in-Charge Atty. Khay Ann C. Magundayao-Borlado, Bangsamoro Transition Authority Deputy Speaker Atty. Omar Yasser C. Sema, MP Engr. Baintan Adil Ampatuan, MP Bae Diamila D. Ramos represented by her Deputy Chief of Staff Sandra Akas, Regional WCPD PRO-BAR Chief P/Cap Judith Ambong, MOSEP Executive Director Hadja Maryam K. Ali, Ex-Officio Commissioner from the Indigenous People Rodolyn P. Andres, CPA, MP DR. Susana S. Anayatin represented by PAO VI Marites Castillo-Competano, Council of Leaders-Business Sector Representative Bai Shalimar A. Candao, Al-Hadja, and MP Baileng Mantawil.

Another highlight of the event was the Talumpati contest where young and talented women from different barangays in the region showcased their oratory skills and shared their perspectives on gender equity and inclusivity. They spoke passionately about the need for equal opportunities for women in education, employment, and leadership. Hayna Daguit, winner of the Talumpati contest, delivered a powerful speech calling for an end to gender-based discrimination as well as giving value and appreciation to women not only in BARMM, but in all aspects of society.

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