More than 10,000 participants gather to form the biggest female symbol on Int’l Women’s Day celebration

By Leilani S. Junio

MANILA, March 8 (PNA) — To highlight the country’s celebration of the 2014 International Women’s Day, more than 10,000 Filipino women and men from different walks of life gathered on Saturday morning in an attempt to make the biggest human formation of the woman’s symbol in the world — a circle attached with a cross.

The event, which took place at the Quirino Grandstand grounds in Manila’s Rizal Park, was also intended to convey to the world that Filipino women, along with their families, are strong, resilient and united.

It was documented for submission as the country’s entry to the Guinness Book of World Record in the category of the biggest number of participants in creating the largest human female symbol.

Another purpose of the event was to show the Filipino solidarity in valuing the role of women in nation-building even in the face of disasters and calamities.

As early as 5:00 a.m., different contingents from several government agencies such as the Department of National Defense, National Police Commission, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Civil Service Commission, Department of Agrarian Reform, Presidential Communications Operations Office, Department of Agriculture, Department of Justice, Department of Public Works and Highways, Commission on Audit, and Department of Science and Technology, among others, began arriving at the venue along with participants from various civic and civil society groups and those who registered through facebook.

The formation started at 7:05 a.m. as the women and other participants put on their wristbands and walked toward the area where the formation of the human female symbol was to take place.

Several cameras were deployed to document and made the head count as determinants on the number of people participating in the event.

The formation was finished at about 8:30 a.m., with the women shouting: “Happy Women’s Month! Sulong Juana! Sulong Kababaihan!”

According to Emmeline Verzosa, executive director of the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) which spearheaded the celebration, the attempt to form the biggest woman’ symbol was a timely gesture to give recognition to women’s various roles in nation-building and their untiring participation as volunteers in times of disasters, conflicts, calamity and any other situations.

“Women resilience serves as a flexible guiding light in times of crisis,” Verzosa said as she noted that many Filipino women’s positive attitudes, skills, integrity and intelligence have earned the admiration of lots of people around the world.

PCW Chairperson Remedios Rikken explained that the event was a move to signify the call for everybody’s attention to be more aware and promote gender equality or the equality of men and women.

She said that the event also sought to encourage women victims of violence and other crimes such as cyber crime and human trafficking to be brave in fighting for their rights.

She stressed that in the pursuit of the protection of women’s rights, convergence from different sectors is needed.

“All must get involved to fight the abuses against women. Everyone has to do their share in the solutions,” she pointed out.

To ensure the success of the celebration and empowerment of women, the PCW had partnered with Coca-Cola Philippines’ 5by20 STAR Program.

The 5by20 STAR Program or Sari-Sari Store Training and Access Program is a global initiative of Coca-Cola Company to give economic empowerment to five million entrepreneurs by the year 2020, according to Atty. Adel Tamano, Coco-Cola Philippines vice president for Public Affairs and Communications.

Tamano said that under the program, they target to transform women sari-sari store owners into better entrepreneurs as part of their effort in contributing to the empowerment of more Filipino women who have the skills and drive to make it big in entrepreneurship.

He added that part of the program is giving of training and support for livelihood opportunities to women entrepreneurs who have the potentials and will to succeed, especially in the areas affected by typhoon “Yolanda” in Eastern Visayas last November, as well as in other areas of the country. (PNA)