BWEL 2023 Speakers Raise the Call for Empowering Women Leaders in Basilan
BWEL 2023 Held, Minda Secretary Acosta is Keynote
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With Mindanao Development Authority chairperson Secretary Maria Belen Acosta as keynote, the 2023 Basilan Women Executives and Legislators (BWEL) Convention also featured four panelists who shared their insights and thoughts on being women leaders in their fields of endeavor during the day-long proper of the gathering, March 14, at the Kasinnahan Hotel and Resort. These accomplished women were properly introduced to the assembly by City Civil Registrar Dayang Mirhama Jaljalis.
First to speak was Member of Parliament and Minority Leader Atty. Laisa Masuhud-Alamia, who, in her talk titled “Women in Good Governance,” discussed the current political dynamics for women in Mindanao, especially in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. MP Alamia also shared data on how women representation in political spheres is directly related to the implementation of policies that benefit social development, especially for marginalized and underrepresented sectors.
For the plenary “Economic Opportunities for Women,” Connected Women co-founder Ruth Yu-Owen proceeded to elaborate the various projects her organization has been involved with, especially in ensuring that homemakers and women of the non-formal labor sector are involved in emerging job opportunities offered by the growing digital economy.
The Philippines’ foremost independent curator, art critic, and cultural scholar Marian Pastor Roces headlined “Women as Culture Bearers.” Drawing from her 50 year-experience in the field, Roces explicated on the pivotal role of women in the country’s Austonesian heritage and its spread across the Pacific and Indian oceans through humanity’s first maritime expeditions, establishing linguistic and cultural parallels among indigenous peoples.
Finally, former Cotabato Province vice governor Shirlyn Macasarte-Villanueva closed the series with her story of survival and faith in her talk “Women Interfaith.” Ambushed by way of mistaken identity that left her paralyzed, Macasarte-Villanueva personally forgave the perpetrators and even facilitated their release as she did not want to perpetuate a cycle of needless vengeance-fueled revenge, especially that will draw her family and her constituents
The speakers and the panel were personally curated by Isabela City Mayor Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman, who tapped into her network of like-minded women leaders and thinkers to make it possible for Basilan women executives and leaders to listen to them. In her talk, Mayor Turabin-Hataman described how she envisioned the BWEL as a platform where women could learn from each other, learning new ways of looking at things, and by extension, further sustain the gains of a progressive Basilan. The panelists were then recognized by tokens of gratitude given by Sec. Acosta and Mayor Turabin-Hataman.
Held in conjunction with the National Women’s Month, BWEL is a gathering of women leaders across the executive and legislative levels of governance in the island province with the aim of harnessing the women experience for pro-people development in Basilan Province. (Words by M. Guerrero/Photos by M. Santos, CIO)