MANILA -- In honor of all women serving the agency, the Department of National Defense (DND) conducted its "Gender, Peace and Security Forum 2018: Women in Defense Sector" which recognizes their role in the security of the nation and in peace-building efforts.
The forum held on March 27 at the AFP Commissioned Officers' Club in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City was in line with the celebration of the International Women's Month and in accordance with the National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (NAPWPS).
Notable women commanders and decision-makers, as well as women in the front line of combat operations and humanitarian assistance and disaster response served as forum speakers and shared their actual experiences in their respective careers.
Director Pamela Ann Padilla-Salman from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) opened the forum with an overview of the NAPWPS concepts, followed by the sharing of experiences of the women leaders who are involved in decision-making, peacekeeping, peacebuilding, and women in the frontline ensuring the protection of civilians and prevention of conflict.
First to share her story was Lt. Col. Rozelle B. Salvosa, a pilot of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) and currently assigned at the AFP's Joint Command Staff for Plans and Programs (JC-5). Equating gender equality to one's personal choice, competence, and commitment (3Cs), Salvosa said, "Gender- equal opportunities under gender and development is not a female thing. It's everybody's concern."
Meanwhile, Col. Joselyn Regis-Bandarlipe, Philippine Army Chief Engineer, admitted that it is not easy to be a woman in a male dominated profession. She, however, proved that gender is not a constraint when it comes to serving the country.
"Along the way, I experienced situations that tested my wits and courage... And I know the effort is being sustained by the government in upholding the rights and power of the women in terms of providing service; I believe in the effort of the government as articulated in the NAPWPS," Regis-Bandarlipe stated.
She also expressed her support for the government's campaign in maintaining the right of the women in performing their duties.
For her part, Col. Maxima O. Ignacio, also from PAF, said that getting into a man's world is not an overnight affair. She related crucial instances when she had to over-exert efforts just to prove to her male counterparts her competence and capability in the face of double standard in the profession of arms.
Ignacio described her experiences in the military profession as a lifetime and fulfilling journey, and encouraged more Filipinas to join their ranks.
While the last speaker, Capt. Luzviminda A. Camacho, of the Philippine Navy, challenged the future female defenders of the nation to prove that gender is not a hindrance in reaching their goals and actualizing their fullest potentials.
All women should remember that woman can also do what men can do, just be yourself and stay focused, she said.
DND Undersecretary Cardozo M. Luna capped-off the event with his message thanking the NAPWPS Focal Point System members for organizing the very first forum that gave voices to women in the male-dominated defense establishment.
He urged all uniformed and civilian personnel of the One Defense Team to be exemplars in supporting and promoting the NAPWPS, and be agents of change towards the advancement of gender equality. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency