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Thursday, March 19, 2015

PIA, press club hold women-in-media forum

By Dominic I. Sanchez

ZAMBOANGA CITY – The Philippine Information Agency (PIA) here and the Zamboanga Press Club, Incorporated (ZCPI) on Friday (March 13) held a forum for women-media practitioners.

Dr. Grace Rebollos, the guest speaker opened up an array of discussions on issues confronting women. The participants themselves shared their experiences while working in the mass media.

“The Philippines is a pioneer in women’s rights advancements,” declared Rebollos, a civic leader and a peace advocate. However, she emphasized, “There is still a long way to go to fully empower women in society.”

According to Rebollos, who was the former president of the Western Mindanao State University (WMSU), “gender and development has overwhelming support (from the government), but society is still male-oriented.”

Rebollos cited that this issue is best illustrated in employment. “Many employers prefer men over women,” she said.

Given the fact that the country has had already two women presidents and now two women leading the peace process, still “across the landscape, men still dominate.”

“Women will have to keep talking for a long time, to keep on drumbeating for women’s rights. When will the day come when we will stop advocating? Maybe it will never come, but we have to keep on doing it,” Rebollos explained.

Rebollos meanwhile cited the women in media for their outstanding contributions to society. “By yourselves, you can wage peace or war by the stroke of your pens,” Rebollos told the participants. She exhorted the women in media by “showing what they were made of especially during the Zamboanga siege,” and encouraged them to do more, contribute to society and be recognized as women of caliber.

Dave Malcampo, PIA Zamboanga Infocenter Manager said that March, as women’s month has to be celebrated with women’s triumphs and achievements “to encourage more women to achieve.”

On the other hand, Press Club President Jayvee Francisco recognized the women-media practitioners’ contributions to having a free, objective and fair media in the city. “Your role in media not only provides the people with information, but inspires more women to take up this challenging task in journalism,” he said.