Allow me to share with you how my agency, the University of the Philippines Visayas, launched the 18-day EVAW Campaign for 2013. The UPV GAD core members and advocates organized a walk from the UPV Administration Building up to the Miagao town plaza last Monday, November 25, at 4:30 PM.
Before the walk, we had a brief program led by our Chancellor, Dr. Rommel Espinosa who was joined by another male administrator, Dr. Ricardo Babaran. Dr. Barby Jover, Director of the UPV Gender & Development Program, gave the rationale why we were walking.
The walk was participated in by the Miagao local government personnel, St. Louis de Marillac Academy, UP Visayas personnel and students. Some children tagged along too. There were about 300 of us who braved the highway of Miagao just to send the message across. As a special note, the pupils of UPV's Balay-Balay Child Minding Center helped make the "STOP" hand sign out of cartolina sheets.
When we arrived at the plaza, we had a candle lighting ceremony and statement of commitment to EVAW. Seven purple candles were lit one by one. Before each candle was lit, a leader said some lines. I was one of them and my lines were:
"IN HONOR OF THE MIRACULOUS STRENGTH AND COURAGE OF ALL ABUSED WOMEN IN INTIMATED RELATIONSHIPS, WE LIGHT THE SIXTH CANDLE. And because we know that many women do not survive... because we feel the weight of the loss heavily in our hearts... because we fear for women around the world everyday who are in danger in their own homes ... and we know how great the risks are... we know that every battered woman who makes it, represents a miracle."
After candle lighting, the Atty. Ramil Naciongayo, closed the program on behalf of Mayor Macario Napulan who is very supportive of GAD but could not be present due to an official travel. Atty. Naciongayo is the Municipal Legal Officer and being such, he was in the best position to say that VAW is a reality in Miagao.
To cap the activity, each participant stamped his/her palm that was covered with orange paint on cartolina sheets that were installed on the stage. Everyone happily went home with a clearer understanding of VAW and deeper commitment to stop it.
I have included some photo documentation of this event for better appreciation of UP Visayas' efforts along EVAW. I shall share the other activities scheduled on Dec 3, 7 and 11 later.