Last March 17, 2016, OWWA Region 10 facilitated the conduct of a 1-day Learning Session on Women Empowerment, VAWC, Child Protection and HIV-AIDS Awareness to 44 OFC key officials at the Mandana Hall of the New VIP Hotel, Cagayan de Oro City. Ms. Flor T. Victoriano, recently Awardee of the 2017 Outstanding Women OFC Leaders and Lay Coordinator of Migrants Ministry of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro talked on Women Empowerment in the context of Christian Scriptures. Ms. Victoriano gives the historical background on how women in the Bible played an important role which had a direct impact on the lives of women in the present time. Verses from the Old and New Testament as well as famous quote from renowned philosophers and famous individual such as Mahatma Gandhi complemented the talk. Moreover, Ms. Victoriano pointed out that it is the culture and tradition that regard women as inferior to men but she also stressed that Scriptures teaches equality between men and women. Eve, Yochabed, Miriam, Ruth, Queen Vasti, Queen Esther, and no less than the Virgin Mary are among the women in the Bible who displayed woman’s empowerment.
The second topic of the learning session deals with the legalities on how to address violence against women and children delivered by Fiscal Ruby T. Malanog of the Regional Prosecutor’s Office. Fiscal Malanog highlighted why despite of the prevailing laws which aims to protect women and children, abuses continue to persist. The reason why women stayed in an abusive environment are the following: fear of life or safety, fear of economic loss, fear of the family’s reputation, for the children’s sake, ignorance / lack of awareness, ambivalence, and the belief that no one understand her husband/partner but only her and someday the man will eventually change and mend his ways. She cited actual cases handled by her as a prosecutor. She encouraged women who filed cases for abuse to fight and continue the case until its resolution. She also calls on the OFC leaders to be more vigilant and report abuses happened in their respective communities and provide moral support and encouragement to the victims to carry on their causes so that violence against women can be mitigated. On the aspect of child protection, she confided that perpetrators of child abuse have used the social media especially on child pornography and cybersex crime. Fiscal Malanog cautioned that parents should be mindful of their children’s activities particularly with those possessing smart phones with Android applications. There were reports that cybersex and child pornography are being performed using smartphones. Hence, parents should not be complacent and have to periodically check their children’s smartphones. Fiscal Malanog provided the audience some new trends or codes used in the chatroom for parents to be aware such as PITR (Parents in the Room) or AITR (Adults in the Room); RYS (Are you Single), etc. She also warned not to receive or download videos depicting child pornography or even videos showing physical abused and violence as this will lead you liable of a cybercrime offense.
Fiscal Malanog encourages OWWA and the participants to organized forum in their respective community regarding Anti Cyber Crime Law and Cybersex for the public to be aware so that one’s own privacy and safety will not be compromised.
The concluding topic was on the Awareness on HIV-AIDS discussed by Ms. Fritzie C. Estoque, President of the Misamis Oriental-Cagayan de Oro AIDS Network. Misconceptions and myths about HIV were discussed. Similarly, topics on sexually transmitted infection, the modes of transmission of HIV and avenue for treatment and the programs and services of both the government and non-government organizations to address HIV-AIDS were also tackled. Ms. Estoque appeal to the OFC leaders to help in educating their communities about HIV-AIDS. A lively discussion and demonstration on how to properly use the condom as concluded the session.
The conduct of Learning Session on Women Empowerment, VAWC, Child Protection and HIV-AIDS Awareness are one of the series of activities line-up by OWWA-10 to commemorate Women’s Month Celebration.