By Dindo Matining
As the world celebrates the International Women’s Day, three-term Senator now Senatorial Candidate Loren Legarda, also known as champion for women’s rights and empowerment, joined the Uniteam in Bulacan sortie today.
Legarda, who topped the recent Octa Research Survey in February, renewed her call to strengthen women empowerment and urged the government to invest in more opportunities for women to actively participate in economic development.
“Naniniwala ako sa kakahayan ng mga kababaihan na umunlad taglay ang kanilang sariling kakayanan at talento. What we should be doing now is harnessing the skills of Filipino women because they have the ability to lead communities towards resilience and sustainable growth,” Legarda said in her earlier statement in celebration of the Women’s Month.
Through the support and initiative of Legarda, Bulacan received several livelihood assistance and training opportunities to improve the productivity and employability not only of women, but the rest of the constituency in the province.
As assistance to micro, small and medium enterprises, Legarda funded under the Department of Trade and Industry Shared Service Facilities (DTI SSF) the printing, labeling and packaging services of Halal products of Islam Traders Halal Transactions Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Meycauayan; bag making of Ma-Igting na Samahan ng mga Panlipunang Negosyante ng Towerville Inc. in San Jose del Monte; and home accessories making of San Ildefonso Doormat Manufacturers Association. Legarda also supported the participation of Mang Kiko Singkaban of Paombong in the annual National Arts and Crafts Fair of the DTI, one of the few remaining craftsmen of the decorated bamboo art often used during town fiestas in Bulacan.
To cushion the effect of calamities and the pandemic, the three-term Senator allocated DOLE TUPAD and DOLE Government Internship Program (GIP) funds for the whole province; the cities of Malolos, Meycauayan, and San Jose del Monte; and the municipalities of Angat, Balagtas, Baliuag, Bulakan, Bustos, Calumpit, Dona Remedios Trinidad, Guiguinto, Hagonoy, Marilao, Norzagaray, Obando, Pandi, Paombong, Plaridel, Pulilan, San Ildefonso, San Miguel, San Rafael and Santa Maria which were placed under stricter lockdown last year, along with other NCR+bubble areas.
As a National TESDA Kabalikat Awardee, Legarda continued her invaluable contribution in developing, enhancing, and implementing training programs to enhance the skills of the labor force, as well as promote entrepreneurship among Bulakenyos. In 2018, the three-term Senator allocated funds under TESDA to provide the province access to Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP), and Special Training for Employment Program (STEP). As of date, more than 100,000 TESDA scholars all over the country benefitted through Legarda’s intervention.
Legarda also said that “efficient rural transport and infrastructure will help realize the full potential of the province,” thus she supported the allocation for the construction of revetment, roads, and drainage.
As the principal author of the Amendment to the Magna Carta for Persons with Disability under Republic Act No. 11228, Legarda allocated under the Department of Education (DepEd) for the construction of PWD-friendly facilities and learning materials and supplies for students of special needs in Lawa Elementary School in Obando, Bulacan under the 2019 General Appropriations Act (GAA).
Whereas, as a woman of culture, Legarda promoted adaptive reuse and protection of built heritage and among her projects in coordination with the National Historical Commission of the Philippines is the restoration of the historical Barasoain Church in Malolos to preserve and protect an important heritage structure with an aim to increase the level of cultural heritage awareness of the new generation.
“For a country to achieve genuine progress, we have to make sure that the gains achieved will reach all sectors, even the grassroots. Kadalasan sa ating pagnanais na agad na umunlad ay nakakaligtaan natin ang mga probinsya kung saan karamihan sa ating mga magsasaka, mangingisda at maliliit na negosyo na may ginagampanang mahalagang tungkulin sa ekonomiya ay naiiwanang salat sa pangangailangan. Kaya patuloy ko pong isusulong na mailapit sa kasulok-sulokan ng bawat probinsya ang mga programa ng pamahalaan na makakaagapay ng ating mga kababayan tungo sa sama-samang pagbangon at pag-unlad,” Legarda concluded.