More than 300 employees of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), locators, and community partners marched in the Freeport to advocate for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment.
With the theme “Pledge for Equality,” the activity was a partnership between SBMA – Gender and Development (GAD) Focal Point System and Redondo Peninsula Energy Inc. (RP Energy) to raise awareness on the role of women in nation-building through various activities.
Benefitting over 200 SBMA employees was the “KliniKaBabaihan” program, which involved a medical mission to promote women’s health and wellness. The activity covered free dental check-ups; random blood sugar and pressure testing; and distribution of reading glasses to SBMA employees, which are mostly women.
Regular community consultations led by RP Energy were used as a basis for these corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs.
“During our field work, we noticed that there’s a lack of equal opportunity for women especially in grassroot communities. Because of this, we at RP Energy started crafting gender-responsive CSR initiatives to address this issue,” said RP Energy Head for External Affairs Victor Chan.
Among the gender-sensitive CSR programs of RP Energy, which it has been conducting since 2012, are KliniKababaihan and Usapang Babae.
To date, RP Energy has covered 200 trafficked persons which were oriented on their rights under the law and were informed on the available Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children (VAWC) services and programs.
The power company also established three Women’s Health and Wellness Center located in Barangay Cawag, Subic Municipality and Pastolan Aeta Village. And to ensure the physical and psychological health of women in the grassroot communities, they have trained more than 200 women Barangay Health Workers, enabling them to bring health services to women in far-flung areas.
The celebration of Women’s Month in the Philippines traces its history back in 1988 when, President Corazon C. Aquino signed Proclamation No. 224 “Declaring the First Week of March of Every Year as Women’s Week and March 8, 1988 and Every Year Thereafter as Women’s Rights and International Peace Day.”
On that same year, Ms. Aquino also signed Proclamation No. 227, “Providing for the Observance of the Month of March as Women’s Role in History Month,” which designated the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW which is now Philippine Commission on Women or PCW) as the secretariat to coordinate its nationwide observance.
On 10 April 1990, she signed Republic Act No. 6949, “An Act to Declare March Eight of Every Year as a Special Working Holiday to be Known as National Women’s Day,” to encourage employees from the government and private sector to participate in Women's Day activities.
The celebration has become an occasion for discussions on various gender-related issues, with activities such as Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Beijing Platform for Action, the Millennium Development Goals (2000-2015), the Philippine Plan for Gender-Responsive Development (1995-2025), and the Framework Plan for Women.
 Reading glasses for SBMA Employees – RP Energy’s External Affairs Head, Victor Chan (left) helps in the distribution of eyeglasses to SBMA Employees as part of RP Energy’s advocacy in promoting women’s health and wellness.
 Woman of Courage - Elsie Cabral, Officer-in-Charge of SBMA’s Women’s Desk. She was recognized by Soroptimist International of the Philippines as one of their awardee for the Unsung Women Heroes Award in 2014).
 Woman of Strength - Joycelline Dela Cruz of the SBMA Law Enforcement Department-Women’s Desk during her runway walk for women empowerment. She is a PWD, Women Advocate and a Balikatan Movement Volunteer.