In order to promote the rights of women and protect them against any form of human rights violation and discrimination, Colegio de San Juan de Letran, spearheaded by the Letran Chief Librarian Ms. Carolyn R. De Jesus and the Director of Engineering, Buildings, and Grounds (EBG) department Prof. Ma. Nancy Balasan, celebrated the International Women’s Week (IWW) last March 20-23 amidst class suspension over transport strike.
Asked on how the idea of observing the IWW started, De Jesus explained, “Nag-start ‘yan last year in compliance sa Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Memorandum Order (MO) no. 1 Series of 2015. [‘Yung] mga HEIs kailangan mag-promote or advocate regarding sa gender rising, gender development, and women empowerment. We [Letran] are advocate of that. Isa ‘yon sa thrust ni Fr. Rector [Marquez] kung bakit magkakaroon na tayo ng IWWC every year.”
The CHED MO no. 1 S. of 2015 asserts, “the states recognizes the role of women in nation-building and shall ensure the fundamental equality before the law of women and women. Higher Education Institutions are instrumental in the globalized knowledge economy, the initial and continuing training of professionals, national wealth creation, and innovations in science and technology. HEIs are also a potent intermediary for the promotion of the core value of family and the preservation of women’s role as transmitters of Philippine culture and heritage.”
Originally, the weeklong IWW celebration in the Colegio was supposed to happen last March 19. But the transport strike of jeepneys made it classes was cancelled due to the transport strike of jeepneys, De Jesus shared that she, together with other organizers, had to struggle with problems such as suspension of classes and activity ban on students.
“Noong ginagawa namin ‘yung plan, kasama ang estudyante kaso we took into consideration ‘yung activity ban. All these activities, pina-approve namin sa Vice President for Academic Affairs, kay Dr. Cabral. May mga target audience kami and may mga partner communities kami. During that time busy sa Senior High, at the same time wala na ‘yung mga graduating sa Basic Education, sa College naman, nanghingi kami ng participants na hindi involved sa examinations,” she explained, saying that all activities were made for the Letran community. “Meron tayong for students, for employees, even parents ng Basic Ed nag-invite kami, tsaka mga partner communities natin, so lahat naman ng ating stakeholders ay na-invite at na-involve natin.”
Asked how did she, together with the EBG, plan for this year’s IWW celebration, De Jesus said that she asked for the insights of Guidance and Counselling Director Efraem Janairo. “We asked him kasi nga sila ‘yung nag-implement ng IWW celebration last year. So, tinignan namin ‘yung evaluation, mga activities, para wala nang duplication. We thought of activities na pwedeng mag-benefit ‘yung women stakeholders natin at mga partner communities,” said De Jesus.
Day 1 of the celebration included activities such as Health and Wellness Expo, Seminars on Health and Wellness, Spiritual Wellness, and Women Stress, and Zumba activity. Day 2 activities were Self-defense Orientation and Training, Cervical Cancer Awareness Forum, and Bento Box Challenge. Day 3 included Seminars on Business Opportunities and Micro Entrepreneurship Ideas and Women Empowerment. While the Day 4, the last day of the celebration, started with a Thanksgiving mass in the morning and ended with a boodle fight in the afternoon.
Amidst class suspension and less participation from the student body, De Jesus bared that from her end, the weeklong celebration was a success. “We have implemented the activities at nasiyahan din naman ang stakeholders natin and participants,” she ended.