COTABATO CITY – Sixty three (63) Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and their dependents, OWWA IT students, and members of OFW Family Circles from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) actively participated in the Symposium on the Role of Women in Nation-building organized by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA-ARMM) on March 23, 2017 at Queen Bee, Mall of Alnor Annex 1, Sinsuat Avenue, Cotabato City.
The activity is under the Gender and Development (GAD) advocacies of the agency and in line with the 2017 National Women’s Month celebration with the theme: "We Make Change, Work for Women”.
OWWA-ARMM Regional Director Amy B. Crisostomo said that the purpose of the event is to raise awareness on the roles of women in nation-building and to recognize that women are effective agents of development.
The event was graced with six (6) empowering and inspiring women – Ms. Noraida S. Chio, Ms. Noraisa G. Nul, Ms. Milrose M. Maulana, Ms. Sittie Jehanne U. Mutin, Ms. Myrna Y. Padilla and Ms. Samira A. Gutoc-Tomawis.
Ms. Noraida S. Chio, Senior Program Officer of The Asia Foundation (TAF) challenged all the women to help in explaining, obtaining and achieving women’s rights.
“If we women are fully empowered, we become change agents in our family, community and country,” she said.
Ms. Noraisa G. Nul, owner of the Mall of Alnor – the biggest and is the first Bangsamoro Mall in Cotabato City, shared her experience as a successful entrepreneur.
“Narating ko kung ano man ang meron ako ngayon hindi dahil magaling ako magsalita kung hindi dahil masikap lang talaga ako. Kung kaya ko, kaya rin ninyo,” she said.
Ms. Milrose M. Maulana, Model OFW Family of the Year Award (MOFYA) 2013 National Winner, Bai LabisaLakungan of Mamasapano, Maguindanao inspired the participants to never give up on their aspirations and dreams.
Ms. Sittie Jehanne U. Mutin, Chairperson of the Regional Commission on Bangsamoro Women (RCBW-ARMM) urged to accelerate the participation of Moro women in peace building, economic empowerment and in enhancing gender development intervention for good governance in the region. She said that the RCBW, being the principal women development agency of the ARMM, has initiated programs designed to empower and develop women’s rights and welfare.
“The projection is to develop a significant mass of Bangsamoro women leaders who will lead and be part of the change in governance and peace building,” she added.
Ms. Myrna Y. Padilla, founder and CEO of Mynd Dynamic Team, Inc., a Davao-based social network management software provider, shared her success story.
In the 20 years that she worked as a domestic helper in Singapore, Taiwan, and Hongkong, she has heard stories from her fellow overseas workers about the abuses they experienced under their respective employers.
Thus, the company developed the OFW Watch Android Mobile Applications service, a tool for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) to help each other. OFW Watch was created as a promise to help the “brothers and sisters” that Padilla “left behind.”
“Becoming an OFW was not heroic, it was a tragic necessity, but when I became a job creator… that was heroic. My proof of saying this is that BPO Industry is projecting 1.3 million new jobs in 2016.
What do 1.3 million jobs really mean? This means 1.3 million mothers, fathers, sons or daughters will now stay at home in the Philippines. This means millions upon millions of Filipino children will have a father at home to offer a guiding hand. This means millions upon millions of Filipino children whose mother will be there to kiss the hurt and show them they are deeply loved. That is the real success!” she said.
“We are here today to celebrate the Women’s Month. What is the role of women in nation-building? The answer is to be fearless! Fear is a dream killer. We women should dream big because when we succeed we become a part of something bigger than ourselves. You are transforming a nation and giving all our people hope,” she added.
Ms. Samira A. Gutoc-Tomawis, Commissioner of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), noted as one of 500 Most Influential Muslims (The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre, Jordan), has worked with an array of stakeholders for the past 17 years as a journalist, manager, consultant, environmentalist, trainer, activist, organizer and now a legislator, talked about Gender Equality, Magna Carta of Women, and her advocacy in nation-building.
Tomawis, who leads the Transform Progressive Marawi Movement, underscored the efforts of the members in informing the city residents and the LGU the importance of disposing garbage. She introduced solid waste management (SWM) and the income that could be generated from wastes.
She outlined the movement’s solving the garbage problem through massive information-education campaign; adoption of new environmentally compliant technologies; formulation of additional management schemes, such as the disposal of household hazardous wastes; and integrating SWM laws and policies with environmental laws through the formulation of the environment code.
OWWA-ARMM Regional Director Amy B. Crisostomo with the Guest Speakers of the Symposium of Women’s Role in Nation-building on March 23, 2017 at Queen Bee, Mall of Alnor, Cotabato City.
(1st photo from L-R) Milrose M. Maulana, Noraisa G. Nul, Amy B. Crisostomo and Myrna Y. Padilla
(2nd photo from L-R) Samira A. Gutoc-Tomawis, Noraisa G. Nul, Myrna Y. Padilla and Nul, Amy B. Crisostomo