The month of March each year was declared as the National Women’s Month by the virtue of the Presidential Proclamation No. 227 series of 1998. This is to celebrate and give tribute to the contributions of every girl and woman in the society who serves as trailblazers of many changes, especially in nation-building. Throughout the years, women face discrimination and hardship, but it didn’t stop them to made vital contributions both to the social and economic development of the country. Because of different programs and projects established to promote women empowerment, women are given equal opportunities like men to reach their fullest potential and will not remain as homemakers for the rest of their lives.
This yearly celebration also aims to discuss and address issues and concerns of women which has not been given yet a solution. Not only the public sector celebrates Women’s Month, but private entities are also organizing activities to show their support and pay tribute to women. But this year’s celebration is peculiar due to the current situation brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s theme was “Juana Laban sa Pandemya: Kaya!” which describes women’s resiliency despite severe damages caused by the pandemic.
In the Province of Camarines Norte, the Camarines Norte Federation of Cooperatives (CANOFECO) held Women’s Day, a one-day activity to celebrate and honor the women of Cooperatives. The first part of the celebration was held through a seminar entitled “Mental Health Awareness and Stress Management” facilitated by Ms. Michelle de Leoz Moll, Guidance Counselor at Mabini Colleges of Daet. The seminar aims to inform the participants on how to have good mental health and be more effective in managing stress both in their personal and professional life. The participants learned a lot and enjoyed the speaker’s discussion, the seminar concluded with an activity that aimed to alleviate the stress of the attendees.
The second part was dedicated to acknowledge some of the cooperatives that contributed to the call for Bayanihan during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Four coop members of CANOFECO discussed the challenges they encountered caused by the pandemic and how they extended help to those in need while solving their own problems. The theme Juana Laban sa Pandemya: Kaya! is describing the initiatives made by the cooperatives amid pandemic, it is also an exact description of how strong the women are, despite the challenges and difficulties encountered especially that most employees and members of their cooperatives are women. The four coops are the Camarines Norte Development Cooperative (CANDEVCO) represented by Ms. Luz Payla, Ms. Mirian M. Hernandez for Talisayon MPC, Labo Progressive MPC represented by Ms. Beverly S. Medrano, and Ms. Josephine A. Balanay of Nagkakaisang Samahan Tungo sa Kaunlaran MPC.
The Cooperative Development Authority Regional Office V represented by Ms. May Celestine S. Nery also presented and discussed its target programs and projects for the benefits of the women in the Cooperative sector. At the end of her discussion, she encouraged the participants not only to focus on the coops’ programs and projects for women but aim to have a gender-fair cooperative that cares for the well-being of both men and women.