International women conference set in Davao

DAVAO CITY—More than 50 known women leaders from 14 countries in the world, whose names are popular among advocates of peace, good governance and gender equality, will join a six-day “Learning and Linking Conference” here from November 22-27.

Among the local big names expected to participate in the international Conference organized by the Davao City-based Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID) are Governors Vilma Santos-Recto and Maria Grace Cielo Padaca of Batangas and Isabela, respectively.

DAVAO CITY—More than 50 known women leaders from 14 countries in the world, whose names are popular among advocates of peace, good governance and gender equality, will join a six-day “Learning and Linking Conference” here from November 22-27.

Among the local big names expected to participate in the international Conference organized by the Davao City-based Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID) are Governors Vilma Santos-Recto and Maria Grace Cielo Padaca of Batangas and Isabela, respectively.

Santos-Recto is an actress-turned-politician who graduated three-term mayor of Lipa City before joining the hotly contested gubernatorial race in Batangas in the May national elections. Padaca was a “poor but hard-hitting” broadcaster whose pro-people platform of governance won her the governorship against the so-called “guns, gold and goons.”

Also among them are Evalyn Ursua of the Women’s Legal Bureau, the brave woman-lawyer who prosecuted American servicemen accused of raping a Filipina from Zamboanga City, and, Congresswoman Luz Ilagan of the militant Partylist Gabriela. Iligan, one of those wounded in the recent bomb at Congress, is also Board of Director of the IID.

In inviting the delegates to the conference, Gus Miclat Jr., executive director of IID, said that the “event will be a unique opportunity for women to pause, listen, learn and reaffirm the collective efforts of women in holding and keeping the peace in their respective communities despite the prevalence of violence, militarization and armed conflict.”

The foreign delegates to the Conference would be coming from Malaysia, Germany, Netherlands, Israel, Palestine, Nigeria, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, South Thailand, Pattani,Thailand, Indonesia, West Papua, Aceh, Timor Leste and Myanmar.

Miclat said that the Conference would also serve as “venue for women in the region to evaluate up to what extent UN Security Council Resolution (UNSC) 1325 on Women, Peace and Security has been useful as a tool for them to demand and engage for greater participation and involvement in the peace process.”

IID Deputy Director Mary Ann Arnado said the Conference will also try to “examine the contribution of women in conflict transformation and governance and determine how this contribution is better institutionalized in governance structures and peace processes.”

Arnado, a lawyer who heads the secretariat of the Conference, said the Conference would be expected to “develop a common platform on how to operationalize UNSC 1325 among women peace advocates in the region.”

“Hopefully, this gathering will also deepen our understanding on transformative (female) leadership and how we can possibly reclaim this power to be able to make significant and meaningful changes in the world,” stressed Raquel Laurente, a member of the Arnado-led secretariat.

Carmen Lauzon, a member of the secretariat and program coordinator of the Conflict prevention and Peace Building Program of IID, said that they have thought of organizing the Conference as part of their “daunting task” in sustaining peace in areas where peace agreements have been forged be governments and dissident groups.

“Clearly, the local population has the greatest commitment to building sustainable peace. It is therefore essential to draw on the assets, experiences, and dedication at the local level and among all segments of society,” Lauzon said.

The delegates to the Conference would be divided into three groups for a two-day exposure trip in three different sites, Frances Jan Lozano, another member of the secretariat, said as she identified the exposure areas as Pantucan in Comval, Sungko in Lantapan Bukidnon and Pikit in North Cotabato.

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