Mindanao State University – General Santos, through the Gender and Development Office and Center for Women Studies (CWS), launched its 2023 National Women’s Month Celebration (NWMC) on March 8, at the Laktnan Reflex Garden. The event also coincided with the International Women’s Month Celebration.
Centered on the theme “WE for gender equality and inclusive society,” the University kicked off its month-long celebration with the day’s activities signifying the solidarity of Women and Everyone (WE) on the campus. The day was filled with equally symbolic and exciting activities that encouraged the participation of University constituents flooding the venue in purple – the official color of the NWMC, which signifies justice and dignity.
To start the event, Dr. Diane Mae Ulanday-Lozano, CWS Directress, gave her welcome address. She focused her speech on emphasizing the vital role of Women and Everyone, especially of the University, in creating a gender-equal and inclusive society. She also informed the attendees of the activities lined up by GAD and CWS to celebrate Women’s Month.
Before the opening program at the Laktanan, cyclists and biking enthusiasts pedaled around the campus for the “Padyak Tayo sa Magandang Bukas.” This bike marathon is among the new events launched in support of the NWMC of the University and was participated by faculty, staff and students. Top 5 cyclists with the best-decorated bikes resembling the color and theme of the celebration were given tokens and got to flaunt their bikes in front of the crowd. Furthermore, those who successfully finished the laps sprawled around the campus were also awarded. The biggest delegation, coming from the Senior High School Department, received tokens prepared by the organizing committee.
Continuing the event, the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement between MSU-GenSan and Equal Access International (EAI) for the OURMindaNOW Messaging Hub took place. IPDM Peace Action Coordinator, Dr. Monsour Pelmin, introduced EAI and the concept of the Messaging Hub. Seeing the interweaving of Peace and Gender in advancing the advocacy for a peaceful and gender-empowering society, the launching of the NWMC is a fitting occasion for the formalization of this continued partnership. EAI-PH Program Manager, Mr. Joel Dizon and OIC Director of the Institute for Peace and Development in Mindanao (IPDM), Dr. Mario J. Aguja represented both institutions at the signing.
After the inking of MOA, Dr. Aguja gave a message on the many opportunities opened by the MOA signing to sustain the efforts of the University for peace in Mindanao as well as its pivotal role in creating spaces for conversations on Gender and Development. On the other hand, Mr. Dizon emphasized that the Messaging Hub is a convergence platform for positive social change movements in Mindanao. It seeks to collaborate with development stakeholders in the entire island region, MSU-GenSan being one, to create a venue for knowledge-sharing, build an information ecosystem, capacitate peace influencers, and develop powerful advocacies that amplify narratives of peace.
Thereafter, the Chairperson of NWMC, Ms. Ruhama L. Gomez, comprehensively discussed the theme of the celebration. Additionally, Ms. Karla S. Torcelino led the Women’s Pledge which was recited in unison by the attendees signifying their full support to advocate for Women’s rights. This was followed by the ceremonial pinning of badges bearing the theme of the NWMC.
A commitment signing of placards for NWMC was also participated by University constituents. These placards bear a message of support for the ongoing campaign for a diverse, equitable and inclusive society for all. After the signing, community singing came after transitioning to a lively flash mob for the closing part of the event. The closing remarks was then given by University Registrar, Prof. Tersa R. Castillo.
The launching of the Women’s Month Celebration is but the start of the many activities prepared for the entire month of March. With its thrust for a GAD-empowered society, MSU-GenSan continues to actively campaign for the development of the quality of education, labor security, business and livelihood, justice, political participation, among others, of women and everyone in the Philippines and across the world.