Wednesday, March 07, 2012

“Kababaihan, Bayanihan Tungo sa Kaunlaran”--In Honor of the Women in Service

Almost twenty years since the Philippine Military Academy opened its gates to the first female cadets in 1993, the Armed Forces of the Philippines is ripe for greater female role in military leadership. And it is not as if the women are being hardwired to take on the tasks primarily devised for men, these women have had their fair share of battles as proven by a long list of female revolutionaries in Philippine history.
The same courage and leadership exhibited by men also flowed in the veins of the likes of Maria Josefa Gabriela Silang and Teresa Magbanua who stood among their male counterparts in the Philippine revolt against Spanish colonizers. And as of the present, these values were passed on to thousands of female officers and personnel in the AFP.
With the Gender and Development Focal Point adhering to the RA 9710 or the Magna Carta for Women, female soldiers and cadets are afforded the same rights, privileges, opportunities, roles, and even hardships that are initially given to men. Thus, the 1,054 female officers and the 2905 female personnel are given the same facilities for growth and achievement in defending the freedom that their predecessors have fought for and won with their lives.
For some years now, BGen Ramona Go has been the face of women empowerment in the military. She is the first female line officer to become a general. She is also the only female general in the active military service. As a General officer, Go has assumed positions of major responsibilities. She is the current Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel (AJ1) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Her previous assignment was being the Adjutant General, AFP.
On her way up, BGen Go felt that the changes being employed to accommodate the entry of women have been effective. “I never felt isolated in the military bureaucracy because I was given tasks where I was very effective. In the Army, women are employed according to their capabilities,” she said.
She further said that the “women of the AFP are the subtle energies that stamp a difference in the wholeness of the military organization. She said that this “difference” has been her mantra in her whole career, starting from when she first joined the active duty in 1982 until now that she has her first star on her shoulders.
Following her footsteps are the female cadets in the PMA, among which are Cadet Maila Maniscan and Cadet Dianne Jane Aragona who are consistently in the top ten of their class. “Surpassing the rigid training here (in the PMA) only proves how strong and determined I am in finishing what I have started. Being a female in the Academy does not hinder me in my development as a future leader of the nation,” says Aragona who is looking forward to her entry to the active military service a few years from now as a commissioned officer.
In the opening of the Women’s Month Celebration here at the General Headquarters’ Canopy Area on March 5, the Secretary of National Defense Voltaire Gazmin relayed the start of a series of activities aimed at recognizing the dynamic role played by women in various societal concerns, especially in emerging environmental issues. “In line with this year’s theme, a series of activities are lined up to celebrate women’s month. There will be a nationwide tree-planting by women as part of the National Greening Program of national government, of which the Department of National Defense and AFP are actively participating in,” Sec Gazmin said.
“There will also be a ‘Magna Carta for Women Information Caravan’ to raise awareness among different stakeholders, and the conduct of various other fora for consciousness-raising on gender and climate change,” the secretary added.
Meanwhile, the AFP Chief of Staff LtGen Jessie D Dellosa gave his personal account of his recognition of the roles of women in and out of service. “I look at my wife and daughter and see immense potential for growth and self-fulfillment. I am thankful that more and more women are joining the AFP and sharing their individual potentials for the good of the organization and the people we serve,” LtGen Dellosa said.
He said that the AFP has made significant improvements in ensuring that facilities, trainings and career opportunities are equally available for both sexes. He also said that “in accordance with the Magna Carta for Women, the AFP has pushed for stronger protection of women from harassment and violence, as well as of their tenure in the service.”
PAO-AFP | Armed Forces of the Philippines | Article Link

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