OWLs honored

BAGUIO CITY – After a thorough search, eight (8) outstanding women leaders (OWLs) were honored during the Women’s Day Program at the Baguio Convention Center, Tuesday morning before a grand parade to Burnham Park.

The awardees are: Theodora Dogup Balangcod, Julie Jovero Corpuz, Sonia Aplosen Dao-as, Josephine Almendral Flores, Ma. Christine Ponce-Garcia, Purita Padsico Malabato, Angelita Bangaoet-Gayados and Jennifer Alagon Mejia;

The eight joins 72 previous Outstanding Women Leaders (OWLs), a program which started in 2006, program officer Patricia Anne Gallardo said. The board of judges are Imelda Bisnar OWL for 2010; OWL 2007 Jeanette R. Cawiding; OWL 2011 Gloria Leal; OWL 2014 Atty. Nellie M. Olairez and OWL 2017 Dr. Milandre Rusgal.

The selection committee includes OWL 2012 Marlene de Castro of Baguio Center for Young Adults (BCYA); Civil Service Commission (CSC-CAR) officer Adoraline Marigza; Young Women Christian Association (YMCA) officer Arnea Canutab; Arlene Olsim of Igorota Foundation, Inc.; Baguio City Police Officer PSI Brenda Macliing; Noel Mabutas of the Special Services Division- City Mayor’s Office (SSD-CMO); City Social Welfare and Development Officer (CSWDO) Dolores Busacay.

There was detailed nomination, a well-defined criteria, a 3-tiered judging, interview and brainstorming over the score sheets for this batch, Gallardo said.

Awardee University of the Philippines (UP) Botany professor Dr. Balangcod is a medicinal plant researcher, specifically for Cordillera flora. Her works recognized by President Benigno Aquino, and now funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). Planting of indigenous species of trees including bamboo, citrus and coffee for soil stability and erosion guard are some of Dr. Balangcod’s advocacies.

Corpuz, a teacher for several decades has shaped the lives of her students, some OWL awardees themselves. Now a retiree, she is more involved in the city’s socio-civic; environmental and community endeavors.

Daoas, is a member of the Baguio Water District (BWD) board of directors and an officer in various socio-civic organizations. Instrumental in presenting native weaving for livelihood, she endeavors the use of “inabel” for formal and daily wear. Hired as a young teacher at the Baguio Colleges Foundation (now University of the Cordilleras), she retired as Vice-President for Administration and now serves as a guest lecturer.

Flores, has a museum in her residence at Lualhati barangay with her collection of artifacts, Cordillera attire and books. Retired from the Dep- ed as regional education supervisor, she inculcates the Cordillera culture through indigenous dances, songs, games and teachings.

Garcia, meanwhile, embodies an empowered woman; a mother, a corporate and career woman, and a well-rounded community leader; maintaining that health and well-being, education and economic empowerment, and sustainability leads to over-all development and prosperity.

Gayados is the founder of the Baguio Market Vendors Multi-Purpose Cooperative (BaMArVeMPCo) which started in 1997 with a capital of P50,000 from 50 members, now a multi-million coop with 950 members. The coop also has a two-storey building at the market for their use.

Mejia, a single mother, is the first in the Cordillera region to be a certified security professional. Now, the regional chapter president for industrial security, she endeavors to professionalize the women security force with quality service, without having their dignity compromised.

Malabato, is an OFW for 14 years in Macau before coming home to community beautification, cleanliness drives and urban gardening. Widowed early, she brought up her children, now both professionals, alone. She is a three-termer barangay official, awarded by the city as an outstanding kagawad of Upper Rock Quarry barangay.

In a response after the awarding ceremonies, Daoas thanked family members, friends, and the community for their support, and urged women to explore limitless potentials, dream and aspire for the best.

Her fellow awardees during a group interview, echoed the same. They urged fellow women to strive for the best, keep a strong faith, be academically updated and physically active.

Middle Rock Quarry women presented an energetic dance number during the program to the delight of the audience including Former Mayor and Congressman Bernardo and Gloria Vergara, Councilors Leandro Yangot, Jr., and Joel Alangsab, Mrs. Rebecca Domogan, and former councilor and character city advocate Phillian Weygan-Allan.

Joshua Lumbao, winner of the children got talent contest last December also performed several song numbers for the crowd.

Guest of Honor and Speaker City Environment and Parks Management Office (CEPMO) head Cordelia Lacsamana spoke about efforts needed for a more livable, sustainable world through an integrated approach. “We have a world to protect,” she pointed out.

Mayor Mauricio Domogan spoke about the country’s having women top leaders; the late Corazon Aquino and former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Women have the capability, competence, knowledge and skills and some are better than men, he said. He complemented on the OWL awardees’ distinguished and excellent performance in their fields. They truly serve as encouragement, inspiration and challenge for the future generation, he added.

There are 9 women department heads at city hall, the mayor cited.

Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda, council committee chair on women, social services and urban poor, said women perform in all aspects; health, environment, political, business and economics. Women take on the role as active partners in development with empowerment, skills, talents and right attitude.

City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) head Betty Fangasan, challenged the women and groups present to help achieve the Millenium Development Goals (MDG). We need to stand united in purpose and action, she said, we also look forward to seeing men and women being treated equally.

Other activities in celebration of womens’ month are; the Ecological Fair/Recycling contest at the People’s Park on March 19-20; awarding of the best performing barangay women’s organization on March 20, 1 – 4:00 PM at the SM event center, Socio-cultural activities (Choral, Ethnic and Folk Dance competition, ethnic attire fashion show) March 23, 1 – 5:00 PM, at the city multi-purpose hall; announcement of poster and slogan contest winners on March 28, 8:00AM at city hall; and, modular sessions for women: seminars on gender sensitivity, practical skills training and livelihood program at the barangays, on schedule.

The programs are sponsored and supported by the Council committee on social services, women and urban poor chair Betty Lourdes Tabanda, Civil Service Commission (CSC–CAR), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD–CAR), womens’ organizations, General Services Office (GSO), Balikatan sa Kaunlaran, KALIPI, University of the Cordilleras (UC), Igorota Foundation, Innabuyog-Gabriela, Save our Women, Baguio Center for Young Adults (BCYA), City Planning and Development Office (CPDO), Baguio City Police Office (BCPO), Philippine Information Agency (PIA-CAR), Special Services Division-City Mayor’s Office (SSD-CMO), Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) and women’s month committee; government offices, national line agencies, and affiliated groups.

The theme for the celebration is, “Kapakanan ni Juana, Isama sa Agenda.” /Julie G. Fianza


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