Women’s and Gender Studies Association of the Philippines (WSAP) partnered with Carlos Hilado Memorial State University (CHMSU), Central Philippine State University (CPSU), and Philippine Normal University (PNU) for the 2022 Annual National Conference with the theme “New Governance & COVID Recovery: What Now for Gender Equality?” The four-day conference began on November 23, 2022 at Padre Pio Hall, Nature’s Village Resort, Talisay City.
Gender and Development (GAD) Office Director Elvie S. Samson, PhD and coordinators Ma. Hanna Grace M. Lopez, PhD (Alijis Campus), Rose F. Regala, PhD (Binalbagan Campus), and Ann Charyl M. Gallo, PhD (Fortune Towne Campus) served as the focal persons for the collaboration.
CHMSU ROTC Officers, under the guidance of NSTP Director Elmer Gumban, PhD, led the entrance of colors for the opening program. Planning, Management and Evaluation (PME) Director Roselyn Alegarbes, PhD and Binalbagan Campus Faculty member Engr. Dexter Dano followed with a solemn prayer song.
In her welcome remarks, WSAP Vice President Pilipinas Ma. Dechavez-Jareno, PhD of CPSU expressed her gratitude to the partners and GAD practitioners for their continued support for the advocacy.
Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose “Bong” V. Lacson graced the event and gave his message on the society’s gender advocacy journey. He emphasized that now is not just a time for assurances, but for concrete actions to make sure that the vision for a gender responsive and sensitive province will be actualized, “Let us aspire to reduce all barriers of development which cause sexism, may it be on personal, economic, or professional development. We are not pitting women against men. We are just trying to determine and eradicate deep-seeded assumptions based on prejudice and stereotypes regarding gender.”
Governor Lacson also shared the different programs and projects of the province in line with GAD and signified his commitment for future endeavors, “Please be assured that the Province of Negros Occidental shall continue to support programs relating to good practices and measures in the pursuance of gender protection and development.”
Senator Risa Hontiveros also sent her support with a brief video message.
WSAP President Excelsa C. Tongson, PhD of the University of the Philippines followed with the introduction of keynote speaker, former First District Representative of Bukidnon Province Maria Lourdes Acosta Alba.
In her speech, Alba stated that the COVID-19 pandemic revealed the true, essential value of women’s work and how the society has perpetuated gender inequalities. However, the strength of women to continue to persist amidst the pandemic and in times of crisis remained to be a stable, reliable force. “Our sisterhood, solidarity, and resilience will take us forward today and see feminist leadership become a new normal,” Alba said.
The conference proper started with a plenary session on best practices from the event’s partner universities. President Norberto P. Mangulabnan, PhD, discussed highlights of CHMSU GAD initiatives and activities which included the integration of GAD courses in the school’s curricula, construction of all-gender facilities, and the implementation of Green Culture programs to emphasize on respect, equality, acceptance, and inclusivity in the school system and operation. CPSU President Aladino C. Moraca, PhD and PNU President Bert J. Tuga, PhD also gave their presentations.
CHMSU Cultural Group, organized by university-wide Culture and the Arts Coordinator Rowena Tuscano, displayed a colorful array of dance performances during the program intermissions.
In the afternoon, the conference facilitated five panel sessions for research presentations on different topics namely 1) Law, Gender, and Diversity, 2) Promoting Peace and Security, 3) Unpaid Care Work of Women and Girls, 4) Inclusive Education and Social Transformation, and 5) Women and Political Participation. Marijo Chua, PhD, Prof. Ma. Luna Dela Cerna, Melanie Reynoso, Zion Rose Parpa, May Peracullo, Jansen Tumabing, Leonesa Impil, and Lucille Alegada participated as documenters and co-moderators.