Advocates push women’s role in rebuilding storm-stricken Tacloban

TACLOBAN CITY, March 19 (PNA) — Women rights advocates are pushing for bigger role of women in rebuilding communities flattened by super typhoon “Yolanda.”

The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the Leyte Samar Heritage Society, Inc., the University of the Philippines Visayas Tacloban College (UPVTC), Leyte Normal University, Citizens Network for Psychosocial Response and Brahma Kumaris recently staged DAYAW KABABAYIN-AN: A forum on the Role of Women in Re-Building Communities from Disaster.

In a recent forum, Msgr. Ramon Aguilos, chair of the Board of Trustees of the Leyte Samar Heritage Society, Inc. thanked the NCAA for coming up with the project in lieu of what should have been a display of pump and pageantry. He also thanked the guest of honor Letecia Ramos-Shahani for accepting the invitation to talk on the role of women in rebuilding communities.

“There could have been no qualified person to talk about this theme but Shahani, with her experience in diplomatic affairs her stint on the national government as a legislator her place in the academic community her being a woman all these put into one make her the best person to articulate women’s role in rebuilding Tacloban and restoring its beauty and order,” Aguilos said.

The priest vowed that the archdiocese of Palo and the Leyte-Samar Heritage Society, Inc. will support them in their task and role in community rebuilding.

NCAA commissioner Joycie Alegre introduced Shahani as a seasoned gem stone: a diamond and Shalani according to Alegre is the personification of DAYAW’s theme for this year “Katutubong Hiyas para sa Daigdig” an appropriate description for the guest of honor, said Alegre.

Shahani served as the secretary general of the United Nations World Conference on the Decade of Women and the Assistant Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs of the United Nations.

Shahani told participants that they are not alone. “I want to show my solidarity and my desire to be of help and to give some words of comfort and solace to the great tragedy that struck Tacloban.”

“We want to show the world that we are a self-reliant people, that we can rebuild our selves and that we are able look after our own destiny as a nation before we lookout to the outside to ask for help” said Shahani.

She emphasized to the audience dominated by women, her own theme in the celebration of women’s month “women cannot build communities which have been destroyed by disaster unless women build their insides, women should come into terms with their own disasters before trying to help the exterior disaster of Yolanda”.

Shalani focused in empowering women within first before helping their own communities. Shalani said that women should look within their selves before looking outside, “you cannot give, what you do not have,” he added.

Taking from this year’s theme of women’s month, “Juana, ang tatag mo ay tatag natin sa pagbangon at pagsulong,” Shalani said that it is very applicable in Tacloban, especially after the storm. (PNA)