Nora Soriño .
ILIGAN City–They came in droves parading through major city streets. Then they converged at the Rizal Park city public plaza.
That was on March 8, International Women’s Day.
I found myself having difficulty getting my way through the sea of violet clad creatures out to give some statements. Like women can’t be taken for granted anymore. This was shown in every other woman’s violet-colored T-shirt: “We make change work for women.”
They came from all the 44 barangays of this city, that’s why there were plenty of them. (Maybe they were a hakot crowd? But no matter.)
Besides these women, there were also men, who too were wearing violet: Mayor Celso Regencia, Vice Mayor Jemar Vera Cruz, Councilors Jake Balanay, Ryan Ong, Noli Pardillo, Titing Ancis, Atty. Demosthenes Plando, councilorables like Tata Tamola, Atty. Dexter Sumaoy. There were other city officials too around though their names escape this writer for the moment. Other government officials were around too, women like Lorry Gabule, manager of the Philippine Information Agency here and Elizabeth Bona of the Department of Interior and Local Government.
Women councilors were there, too, like Sol Bacsarpa and Dr. Bunz Lim. But where was councilor Queenie Belmonte?
A horrible thought crossed through my mind… what if…? I pushed the bad “bombing” thoughts away as I was now settled in the stage where I was also invited to be one of the judges for the singing and “balak” contest (ahmm… ahmm). I’m always ambivalent in matters like this because for one, there’s the ah, “hostaging” aspect for several hours as you go through the duties of judging. The other judges incidentally were Beth Sagpang and Nida Callo,. This two are good in their respective talents, like singing, dancing and other arts.
Anyway, the security aspect was attended to, I’m sure as “peace and order” is the No. 1 battle cry of this incumbent administration that is planning to come back pa more.
I did not regret my decision though to agree to be a judge, specially that it was not only the cover of a book I was judging, ok, I’m kidding.
VM Vera Cruz and Mayor R, not yet halfway through their speech, they broke into a song serenading us, women. I now say “us” for many times, I forget that I’m a woman too pala, hahaha. And this day– and month– is for all the women of today.
It was really a time to “puyok” us women! We were tickled by Vera Cruz and Regencia’s songs. In these videoke/ karaoke time of ours, all Pinoys are now singers, that’s a fast fact now.
But let’s not forget yesterday’s women who made these all possible. Women like US First then Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and earlier, of Catherine the Great of Russia. And there’s Mother Teresa whose selfless devotion to the marginalized made an impact in society. And all the other extraordinary women in history. In our shores, we have Cory and Gloria, although they became Presidents under unusual circumstances. Meaning, women can make it through “unusual” circumstances, too, like men.
Ah, I think I’m rambling now. So, we go to that Rizal Park women’s affair.
Councilor Bunz Lim Lim was a revelation. I mean she is a further revelation with her showmanship on stage, breaking into a dance if there was music and getting into a narrow ledge up the stage. That was quite a feat there, for one might, well, fall. I said to Lorry, “Look at her, climbing onto that narrow ledge.”
And Lorry said, “She’s used to it.” And the women too sashayed with the music with her! I then remembered Regencia’s speech, which said among others: “This moment, forget about washing clothes, cooking, doing the laundry…”
I was deeply touched by the message of one poem in Cebuano. This was about her being given flowers in the morning by her partner, a sign of love and care, only to be mauled in the evening. And in the morning she was again given flowers, as a gesture that he regretted what he had done and could she forgive him, only to be mauled again in the evening. Thus it became a vicious circle of giving flowers to her by him and then mauled again.
The final flowers, the poem said was not asking forgiveness this time, but as an offering of condolence and sympathy on her death.
How tragic this message was. But for some women alas, this is true. That’s why there’s VAWC or RA 9262. Before this law, women in trouble with their husbands and or partners had to go through this without outside intervention because “this was a domestic affair.”
The poem though, we learned was composed by Laura Fe Z. Diaz, OIC of Gender and Development Office of this city.
Regarding this “Women’s Day” some men I encounter though say, “Why is there no International Men’s Day?” Meaning they have axes to grind too against women.
I have pondered over this. And I think there’s some feeling of unfairness on men’s part. Like it’s not easy to act strong when you’re not really strong because women are considered “the weaker sex.”
And then I remembered some quote about women: That they have one great advantage over men, if they cannot play it smart, they play it dumb!
Well, I won’t say anything on that for now.