“Abay Sa Kahayag” Launches 18 Days of Activism

“Women’s Rights = Human Rights”, a principle staunchly advocated by Zonta Club Cebu II, has inspired a partnership with the City of Mandaue to advance the welfare of women and children against violence and abuse, established in the project Abay sa Kahayag.

Marilou Canizares, club president, said that in observance of 18 Days of Activism against gender based violence, Abay sa Kahayag is mounting a series of events to call attention to the advocacy in several venues starting Nov. 23 this year.

Abay sa Kahayag is loosely translated as guiding light, a helping hand stretched out to victims of abuse in distress. It is a program supported by Zonta Club Cebu II that is made accessible to all 27 barangays of Mandaue City through the VAWC (Violence Against Women and Children) desks.

Not stopping there, the City of Mandaue and Zonta Club Cebu II are working on the long-term vision of creating a One Stop Crisis Center in the District Hospital of Mandaue City. It is designed to address the plight of victims of abuse by providing police assistance, legal consultation and medical services.

This year’s campaign shall focus on the need for victims to be aware of their rights guaranteed by the Magna Carta of Women (RA 9710), and for the public to report cases of abuse to the authorities. A search for the outstanding advocate for women in Mandaue’s 27 barangays has been launched to kick off the campaign. On Nov. 23, a Photo Exhibit of the nominees will open in Park Mall. Alongside, another exhibit of Pop Art Posters on the advocacy against violence will run until Dec.1.

On Nov. 24 another event shall open in Ayala Center Cebu featuring the dual exhibit “Musings on Women” in paintings and black and white photos as a tribute and homage to women from all walks of life in their various roles in society. Photos and paintings may be viewed only up to Nov.26 in the main activity center. The photos which are finalists in the photo contest for the event shall be moved to the 2nd level of the new wing of the mall from Nov. 27 to Dec. 2. Viewers may vote for the best photo in the People’s Choice, an adjunct category to the official criteria of the panel of judges.

A Symposium on “Redefining the Meaning of Gender” shall be held on Dec. 5 at Bai Hotel in Mandaue City featuring notable speakers on issues such as sexual harassment in the workplace, the SOGIE (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Equality) bill pending in congress, and other relevant topics. On Dec.10, observed as Human Rights Day, the awarding of the Outstanding Advocate for Women shall take place also at the same Hotel. Top three winners of the photo contest shall also be announced. The Highlight of the evening is a unique fashion show as a platform for bold statements on women’s rights.

Abay sa Kahayag is envisioned by Zonta Club Cebu II as a long term partnership with the City of Mandaue, sustaining its advocacy in annual events, declared project chairperson Dr. Elsa Basubas.