Ilocos Norte kicks off Women’s Month celebration with trade fair, self-defense training

LAOAG CITY – The provincial government of Ilocos Norte kicked off the National Women’s Month  celebration with a women’s trade fair at the Provincial Capitol parking lot on March 6-10.

Most of the women entrepreneurs who showcased their products in the trade fair were beneficiaries of the provincial government’s Lacasa loan program.

The program has assisted over 600 Ilocano women entrepreneurs in 2015 by providing them additional capital for their small business.

“In Ilocos Norte, we are fully aware that livelihood and employment programs for women are not merely additional income. More frequently they are the main and single source for family income,”  Marcos said.

Provincial Gender and Development (GAD) Officr Nelinda A. Erice said  that the provincial government  has recognized her office’s important role as partners in any developmental aspect of society, as “more and more Ilocano women have joined the workforce which would “show that the women are not being left in the home nowadays”.

Aside from Lacasa loan, the GAD office regularly conducts parent education programs in barangay communities; school symposia on teen pregnancy, rape, and sexual harassment; and seminars on fertility awareness.

Meanwhile, twenty policewomen from the Ilocos Norte Police Provincial Office (INPPO) conducted self-defense trainings for female students in Grades 10 and 11 from the First District towns of Bacarra, Piddig, and Vintar  and Second District towns of  Currimao, Pinili, and Badoc.

Held simultaneously in Vintar and Badoc Auditoriums on March 6-7, the student participants were estimated to be 100 per district.

Marcos reminded the participants that although 2016 was a banner year for reporting of domestic violence and sexual harassment “we still need to move forward into the millennium so that these practices, customs, and wrongfully-accepted behaviors are finally put to an end.”

Other Women’s Month activities in the province this year included the National Buntis Day Celebration and Kinni-Kinni (“kembot” or “swaying hips”) Parade on March 10 and Women’s Fora on March 14-22 (With report from Mizpah Grace G. Castro, PGIN-CMO)