A Champion for Street Children in Puerto Princesa
By Mae Ponce De Leon
Ms. Lydia Del Rosario is a social worker committed to helping street children find a home away from home where they will be cared for and loved albeit temporarily. She is the head of Group Home, a project of the City Social Work and Development (CSWD) under the Office of the Mayor since 2008.
The home was opened in 2003 with less than 10 children who were eventually reintegrated with their families after several months of case management studies and deliberations. As of the moment there are 33 children living in the home. Most of the kids are stowaways who left their parents due to poverty and started begging for food and money along the streets of commercial establishments.
Although beset with various problems, Ms. Del Rosario finds her job fulfilling in knowing that she is making a difference in the lives of innocent children by providing shelter, food, education, love, and care. This summer she intends to work with as many barangay officials as she can muster in disseminating information regarding the constitutional rights of children and penalties for violations of the law which she hopes will lower the cases for stowaways.
Muslim Filipina in Politics
By Sittie Aliah A. Limbao
Stereotypes of womanhood in all its symbolisms prevail in almost all cultures and ideologies. In Muslim societies, sexuality may become a public issue. It is safe to say that Islamic discourse and social realities are very much obsessed by women’s sexuality, especially on how to regulate and control it. However, Filipino Muslim women of this post-modern age take freedoms with gratitude and choose to live and speak in their own way and for the common good. They no longer choose to be oppressed nor tied to the restricted culture of this patriarchal society. They embrace the right to be a confident Muslimah. They refuse to be the victim – to be labeled, boxed, and be discriminated against as a woman. They work hard to show the best of their abilities to contribute for the good cause.
An exemplar of this kind of Muslimah is Samirah Gutoc – Tomawis, former Assembly-woman and recipient of the prestigious Ten Outstanding Young Men (2001) Award. She is a graduate of journalism from a state university where she founded the publication for Muslim communities providing copies to the Senate and other institutions. She also obtained her Masters in International Studies in the same university. She finished her law degree in Arellano University School where she served as the founding editor-in-chief of Arellano Law Gazette and Policy Review with international circulation. But more than her academic achievements, Samira is distinctly known and recognized for her selfless concern for peace, women, youth, conflict and terrorisms.
Early on her career, Ms. Samirah already embraced the world of media: founding producer and anchor of SYU, Marawi Cable from 1997 to 1998; a radio correspondent of Pagusapan Po Natin of DZME Radio Ranao, Marawi City in 1998; guesting in shows such as Isyu 101 in its pioneering episode, DEBATE, Breakfast and other TV shows; hosting and featuring in documentaries (“Other Mindanao” by Howie Severino for the World Bank in 2002, RIDO, I-WITNESS), and being a resource person for I-Witness featuring the discussion on MORO-AMERICAN WARS. She was also a correspondent/contributor journalist print media such as: Philippine Daily Inquirer, Mindanews.com, Moro notes, Mr. and Ms. Publisher and www.basangmoro.com. Her article, Confronting Stereotypes” received best opinion online article from the Population Legislative Awards.
Samira also founded and organized the Young Muslim Professionals (YMP) which is seen as a breeding ground for young leaders. Consistent with her motto that “the pen of a scholar is mightier than the blood of a martyr,” Samira believes that education is the way towards developing the youth leaders. Through education, she hopes that Muslims will raise their family independently and ensure that they succeed in the Christian-dominated workplace. Alongside with her projects and undertakings, Samira finds another powerful way of lobbying pro-peace direction, making her influence and presence felt through media and information technology. She has observed how the media mistakenly projects a negative image of the Muslims which only creates disunity instead of peace.
Life in politics may seem natural for her through the experiences with her parents. In campus politics she had been asked to run as a Councilor at UP Diliman but she chose to head the smaller less hassle UP Muslim Students Association, the first woman to do so. As an activist who fought and rallied against the status quo, she would often be late to come home and be castigated by her parents, even arguing on issues such as questioning the Government. In her one engagement in Muslim youth and Students Alliance she had met now ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman. Onwards 15 years later to the Reform ARMM Now (RAN) movement which reunited her with Hataman and youth leaders from ARMM and Manila, they rallied and mobilized on key issues that made ARMM nationally highlighted as an area which needed affirmative action. She acted as spokesperson. She was usually the lone female in meetings in Manila, and would be assigned to write and document, and arrange events. And then she was also chosen to work for the ARMM Regional Assembly as part of the Aquino reform team.
Samira, just like other Filipino Muslimah who excelled in their own field, is a living proof that Muslim women in the Philippines can contribute to the society. She does not only achieve a lot of things but she represents women so well in this patriarchal society. She was able to maximize her strengths and abilities as a journalist for the better good. Thus, Muslim women should not be restricted by their fears of contravening the norms or cultures, nor should they be muted by religion but instead they should be liberated and confident to use their outmost capabilities to make a stand.
The Executive Judge: Strength and Power with Style and Glamour
Known to many lawyers and law students, in court and in law class to have a strong and fearsome personality, Judge Evelyn G. Nery, is also known to be very gentle, sweet, God-fearing, and lovable kind of person to most, if not, all of her friends. Judge Nery, is the Presiding Judge of Branch 19 - Regional Trial Court for Misamis Oriental Province as well as the incumbent Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court for Misamis Oriental. She is also known as the first female magistrate of the said province.
As a keynote speaker during Women’s Month celebration sponsored by City Government of Cagayan de Oro, Judge Nery cited certain root causes of abuse on women which include: ignorance, lack of information, fear, shamefulness and failure to acknowledge God’s presence. According to Judge Nery, the solutions to these challenges that some women are facing today may include: proper education, equal opportunities in holding positions and empower them through seminars and trainings.
As her words of empowerment, she emphasized that Filipinas in the modern day should be, “magaganda, matatag, matatalino at maka-Diyos” (beautiful, strong, intelligent and religious). Whey she is being perceived by some of her law students as fearsome professor, other students see her as a motherly figure as she always reminds everybody that nobility in law profession is not in the title but in how one delivers true service. During this Women’s Month, this woman has terrified mediocrity by showing strength and power by ruling in her own style and glamour.
Copyright (c) 2013 ACCESS TO JUSTICE ADVOCATES (AJA). All rights reserved.
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Is an Non-Government Organization Catering Youth Services
Liceo Legal Aid Center (LiLAC) doing business under the name and style of Center for Alternative Lawyering of Liceo is the legal aid center of Liceo de Cagayan University, a privately owned university based in Cagayan de oro City. The group is composed of law students, alumni of the College of Law of the University, and lawyers who are passionate in the practice of alternative lawyering. LiLAC is guided by its vision of a holistic formation of law students committed to the transformation of society by promoting justice, empowerment, unity and peace, through helping the marginalized sector of the depressed areas here in Mindanao, in the Philippines and in the world. While the group was registered only this year with the Securities and Exchange Commission, it has been providing services to marginalized communities in partnership with NGOs for more than 8 years now. LiLAC has more than 50 members, 15 of whom are taking the active role of running the group’s activities.
The Mindanao State University Legal Aid Clinic or Mindanao SULAC for brevity, is the Legal Aid Clinic of Mindanao State University College of law. It is the first and currently the only one of its kind to be established in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). It strives to cater the legal needs of the underprivileged and/or indigent clients of the Region and to help promote the proper administration of justice as a key to lasting peace in the region and in the country as a whole.
Office Address: 1F MSU College of Law Bldg.,
MSU Main Campus, Marawi City 9700 Philippines
Mobile No.: (+63) 907 336 7762
The Notre Dame university is a Catholic Institution in Cotabato City run by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and member of the Notre Dame Educational Association Philippines.The Notre Dame University Legal Aid Center started sometime in 2009. Its members are the officially enrolled students of NDU-College of Law.
The following are the official pages and e-mail address of the group:
The Palawan Cradle of Rights is a unified composition of law students from Palawan State university school of Law, established last August 26, 2013 after the culminating activity of the Basic Orientation Seminar by the US Embassy in partnership with the MYVC.
Through our linkages and with the help of the different Government and Non-government organizations we aim to provide free access to people who need legal assistance.
The University of Mindanao Legal Aid Network (ULAN) is a non-stock, non-profit, and service institution of the University of Mindanao. As a service institution, it provides legal assistance, advocates human rights and social justice, and facilitates the formation of law students for alternative lawyering. It consists of law students and alumni of the College of Legal Education of the University of Mindanao committed to provide an adequate and greater access to justice of the community through its programs.
The CENTRO ADVOCACIA LEGAL is organized exclusively for charitable, socio-cultural and educational purposes, more specifically to serve the needs of the marginalized communities specifically children and youth and the minorities in Zamboanga City through Legal Aid Assistance and Human Rights Based Advocacies.