The MIMAROPA Regional Gender and Development Committee (RGADC) held a candle lighting ceremony at the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Regional Office or NRO in MIMAROPA, Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro, and through video conference on March 30. The event was  the  culminating activity for the 2022 National Women’s Month (NWM) celebration.

The candle lighting activity served as a tribute to all Filipinos who have succumbed and suffered due to COVID-19. A total of 37 NRO  MIMAROPA officials and staff participated in the activity. Meanwhile, RGADC and Regional Development Council (RDC) members were invited to join and witness the activity online. Around 40 RGADC and RDC members attended through Zoom platform.

​​​​​​​Philippine Commission on Women Executive Director Atty. Kristine E. Yuzon-Chaves welcomed the participants and highlighted the significance of celebrating the women’s role and contribution in nation-building and as agents of national development. She also  emphasized  that the gender-responsive projects, activities, and programs of government agencies and private institutions serve as a foundation for achieving inclusive development. 

Western Philippines University President Dr. Julie Hope Timotea P. Evina, Department of Education MIMAROPA Chief Education Supervisor Florinda B. Dimansana, RGADC Co-Chairperson Juvelyn V. Gumal-in, and RDC Vice-Chairperson and NRO MIMAROPA Regional Director (RD) Agustin C. Mendoza offered prayers not only for the victims of the pandemic but also for the families who have lost their loved ones due to the pandemic. They also prayed for the health workers, the vulnerable, those who are still suffering from COVID-19, and for all the government officials as they lead the implementation of public policies, plans, programs, and projects to address the effects of the pandemic.

The lighting of candles was led by RD Mendoza together with RDC Secretary and NRO  MIMAROPA ARD  Apollo Edwin S. Pagano. A song was also offered by Ms. Chara Lois T. Eje of NRO  MIMAROPA for the families of the Filipino women who have succumbed and suffered due to COVID-19. 

In his closing message, RGADC Chairperson and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) MIMAROPA RD  Fernando R. De Villa, Jr., thanked the RGADC and RDC members who offered their prayers for the Filipino women and men who have been victims of the pandemic. He affirmed that the DSWD and the RGADC will continue to fight and take action to address women’s agenda and to ensure that there will be no more Juana who will be victims of COVID-19 pandemic.

To conclude the candle lighting activity, Mr. Mel Anthony I. Atienza of NRO  MIMAROPA led the participants in singing a hymn of healing and hope.

The candle lighting activity closed the NWM celebration of the RGADC MIMAROPA wherein the celebration’s  flagship activity was the Spoken Word Poetry Session 2.0 conducted on March 24.