Zonta Club of Cebu II joined, as the club has done in the past years, in the annual campaign of the “18 Days of Activism to End Gender-based Violence” from November 25 to December 12, 2023.
To generate more support and awareness of this continuing advocacy, the club organized several events, such as the Mandaue Women’s Summit, the Teen Summit with the theme “Transformative Leadership”, an open-air theater entitled “Women in ARTivism”, WoMandaue Painting Competition and Exhibit, Roll on Reels about the different types of abuse, teenage pregnancy, and HIV/AIDS. One of the biannual visits to persons deprived of liberty at the Mandaue City BJMP always occurs within the 18 Days of Activism.
A much-appreciated launching of the 18 Days campaign was the Mandaue Women’s Summit on November24, 2023. The huge success of the Women’s summit was due to the pool of well-chosen, powerful speakers, namely, Ms. Michelle Yu, Mandauce City Gender and Development (GAD) focal person; Dr. Rhodora Bucoy, former chair of the Philippine Commission on Women; Atty. Noemi Truya of the Children’s Legal Bureau; Ms. Tisha Ylaya, lead convenor of Cebu Pride; Atty. May Aguilar of the Cavada Law Office; Atty. Fiona Bojos and Atty. Magdalena Lepiten; Ms. Charlene Virlouvet and Ms. Rain Villagonzalo.
Ms. Yu reported on the city’s efforts in addressing gender-based violence including the approval of the Safe Spaces Ordinance, the Revised Gender and Development Code of Mandaue City, and the amendment to the Solo Parent Welfare Ordinance creating the Solo Parent And Their Children Task Force.
Atty. Truya shared her efforts in the fight to stop abuse among women and children while Dr. Bucoy discussed her experience as former chair of the Philippine Commission on Women.
Ms. Ylaya talked about the discrimination experienced by the LGBTQI community such as financial insecurity, the absence of affordable housing, the impacts of COVID-19, and the absence of someone taking care of them.
Atty. Aguilar discussed the salient features of the Republic Act 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act. She encouraged women to stand up against abuses of their partners.
Atty. Bojos and Atty. Lepiten focused on the topic of Safe Spaces while Ms. Virlouvet shared her journey and involvement in addressing gender-based violence. On the other hand, Ms. Rain Villagonzalo stressed that transgender women are women.
The next day, November 25, 2023, Zonta Club Cebu II with Z Club of Childlink High School gathered over 100 high school students from the Z Club of Childlink High School, Mandaue Science High School, Our Lady of Joy Learning Center, and Saint Theresa’s College for the Teen Summit.
The Club aimed to promote transformative leadership and gender equality among the students who can be a potent force in the campaign to end violence against women and children in schools and the promotion of gender equality through positive youth action.
This activity was organized with Z Club of Childlink High School Cebu and MOVE Mandaue.
During the summit, students were encouraged to hone their leadership, team-building, problem-solving skills, and the use of creativity and open-mindedness, said Zn Maria Theresa Tio, Childlink school director.
Dr. Bucoy discussed “Transforming Gender Inequalities, Changing Lives: Towards a Gender-fair, Violence-free Inclusive Society.”
She urged the students to be involved in promoting a gender-fair and violence-free inclusive community.
“Use your talents and idealism to help change misogynist norms and promote values founded on respect for human rights, respect for diversity, inclusivity, and democracy,” she said. It is time to realize and translate into action the legal imperatives aimed at ending discrimination and men’s violence against women and girls, Dr. Bucoy said.
Women ARTivism 2023 held on November 26, 2023 emphasized the power of performing arts in conveying advocacy messages. Various entertainment numbers such as singing, dancing, poetry, monologues, and play promoted various issues such as climate change, women’s empowerment, gender-based violence, and the life of an activist.
The event featured performances such as monologues “Ang Rebolusyon Nagpuyo sa Akong Lawas” by Riza Binarao, Ami Lavadia and Richel Ann Basiga, “Woman” by Sheng Pestaño Gemperoa, and “Movie Stars” by Charlene Virlouvet, which pointed out the effects of climate change.
Zontians Chona Tremedal, Marilou Cañizares, Flor Miel, Mildred Simolde, Hazel Espina, and Betty Veloso performed “Say Her Name: A Tribute to Female Performing Artists who Fought for Women’s Rights.” The 2TinCans Theatre Company presented a dramatic reading on human trafficking.
The song performances were diverse, ranging from Apple Abarquez’s rendition of the “Fight Song,” Mikee Amagsila, Richel Basiga’s and Davelyn Cuenco’s delivery of “Stand Up For Love” and the mashup of “Strong Women Anthem – Power/Born This Way/Edge of Glory.”
Attendees also witnessed the short play “Mga Misteryo sa Kinabuhi ni Maria” and the University of the Philippines Sayaw Evolution’s performance of “Babayeng Mag-uuma, Pangunahing Pwersa,” a contemporary dance against land industrialization and militarization.
The WoMandaue painting competition highlighted the contribution of women to the development of Mandaue City. said Dr. Elsa Basubas, chair of the Abay Sa Kahayag Committee of Zonta Club of Cebu II.
Jerson Calo’s “Empowering WoMandaue” secured the first prize while Rolando Yakit’s “Tigluto ug Lamiang Bibingka sa Mandaue” came in second. Aedam Javier’s “Panahi ug Trapo” won the third prize.
The winners and finalists of the painting competition also participated in the exhibit held at SM City Cebu from December 8 to December 11, 2023.
The Roll-on-Reels featured videos of Zonta Club of Cebu II members and Directors of the Cebu Lady Lawyers Association who spoke against Human Trafficking. Human trafficking confronts as an urgent crisis that demands our collective attention. This modern-day slavery preys on the vulnerable, robbing them of their freedom, dignity, and basic human rights. The videos were uploaded to the Club’s Facebook page from November 29 to December 7, 2023.
Zn. Dr. Elsa Basubas, chairperson of Abag sa Kahayag, said the collective efforts of Zonta Club of Cebu II, the Mandaue City government, and non-government groups like CELLA have resulted in improvement in the efforts to end VAWC.
The Zonta Club of Cebu II also held its annual gift-giving activity at the Mandaue City Jail to mark the spirit of Yuletide.
The goal of the project is to extend Christmas Cheers to the female persons deprived of liberty (PDL) at the Mandaue City Jail women’s ward and “give them morale-boosting despite their situation,” Dr. Basubas explained.
“By doing this, they will feel happy as they experience the generosity and good will that people outside the walls of BJMP MANDAUE City have for them. They will realize that there are still those who care for them in the spirit of Christian charity,” Dr. Basubas said. She added that the project started three years ago.