selles2_519x230_3817a316436493e8515956a9333f40b1BUTUAN CITY – More than 200 men and women met at the Almont Hotel’s Inland Resort to commemorate the centennial celebration of the International Women’s Day on March 8, 2011.

International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women. Since 2011 is the centenary year of the International Women’s Day, events are held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate achievements.

In Caraga region, two major activities highlighted the celebration. It was organized by the Agencia Espanola De Cooperacion Internacional Para El Desarollo (AECID), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) through its joint project with AECID – the Comprehensive Pilot Intervention Plan Against Gender-Based Violence (CoPIPAGV), Paz y Desarollo (PYD) and Humanismo y Democracia (H+D).

The activity was also in partnership with the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), Caraga State University (CSU), women’s Legal and Human Rights Bureau (WLB), Brokenshire Women Center and Likhaan Center for Women’s Health.

The public forums dubbed “Make it Happen: Meeting the MDG on Maternal Health” and “Engaging the CEDAW and its optional protocol and the KTV Case: How We Did It?” were the first part of the celebration.

The first forum started with a video showing on “Agaw Buhay (Fighting for Life),” a video produced by Likhaan Center for Women’s Health. The film is based on the real-life stories of four women: a teenager, a poor single mother, an ailing pregnant woman, and a young struggling doctor .  It captures their circumstances, their reasons how they sought and had abortions, how they were treated by health personnel and the tragic deaths of two women in the file. It describes the threat of unsafe abortion to over 1,500 women who daily face risks due to what they deem as desperate reasons. The film showing was followed by reactions from a multi-sectoral panel composed of medical doctors, a community health educator and a barangay health worker.

The second forum focused on on the discussion about understanding CEDAW and its Optional Protocol, Engaging CEDAW and its Optional Protocol to keep the promise of the Women’s Convention, the CEDAW views on the Karen T. Vertido Case: Challenges to and implications for women’s rights and Ways to move forward: Response from women’s NGOs, and Government representatives. The panel includes lawyers, social workers and women advocates.


The participants were then treated to a “Women Rock Concert”.  It was held at the Caraga State University (CSU) Gymnasium and participated in by some local bands, CSU’s Glee Club and Dance Troupe. The main of the concert was the MEBUYAN Band, a musical group from Mindanao that has produced several plays/musicals. One of their productions is Panaw, which portrayed the issue od domestic violence and hailed at the Asian Women Director Festival in New Delhi, India. The group’s repertoire includes songs on environment and women issues, which really inspired the crowd.

The whole day activity was attended by Mr. Vicente Selles, Coordinator General of the Spanish Cooperation in the Philippines; Mr. Ignacio Valero, Head of the Cooperation Department in H+D Headquarters in Madrid; Ms. Lydia Arteaga Claramunt, representative of PYD in the Philippines and DSWD Caraga Regional Director Mercedita Jabagat.  There were also mayors, social workers, members of the law enforcement  from different municipalities in Caraga,  Barangay Captains from different municipalities served by the CoPIPAGV and other partners. # # # (Social Marketing Unit).

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