‘ORANGE THE WORLD’ Consulate joins campaign to protect women, girls

Deputy Consul General Raquel R. Solano underscores the need to continue promoting and fighting for women’s rights. PHILCONGENSF PHOTO
Elsa Agasid (right) shares how she suffered and began healing from intimate partner abuse. PHILCONGENSF PHOTO

SAN FRANCISCO – On Human Rights Day, the Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco joined the global Campaign to End Violence Against Women through an interactive discussion on intimate partner violence with resource persons from the ALLICE Alliance for Community Empowerment.

Consulate personnel wore orange ribbons on their sleeves in solidarity with the UN Women campaign, “Orange the World, End Violence against Women and Girls.” According to UN Women, the color orange symbolizes a vision of a bright positive violence-free world.

Resource speakers show video produced by ALLICE honoring survivors of intimate partner and family abuse to empower those suffering in silence. PHILCONGENSF PHOTO

The Consulate invited ALLICE Founder- Executive Director Ms. Cherie Querol Moreno and ALLICE Vice President Ms. Elsa Agasid as resource speakers. The talk was especially moving as it was the first time for Ms. Agasid to publicly share her story as a survivor of intimate partner violence.

Consulate personnel were briefed on the causes and effects of domestic violence. They actively participated in the discussions, which enabled them to know more about the tell-tale signs of abuse, the patterns and cycles of the intimate partner violence, and available resources to attend to victims.

The resource speakers emphasized the importance of listening to victims with empathy. Consulate personnel learned that offering quick solutions to victims need not be the first step in attending to their needs. Personnel were discouraged from uttering the words “should” and “must” when dealing with victims as they need a listening ear first and foremost and be given options rather than pieces of advice.

The resource speakers also did role playing to show the participants how to appropriately respond to someone suffering from intimate partner abuse.

On behalf of Consul Gen. Henry Bensurto, Mrs. Mariza Bensurto (front row, sixth from left) joins Deputy Consul General Raquel Solano (ninth from left), Consul Vanessa Bago-Llona (second from left), Consul Jed Martin- Llona (back row, sixth from left), officers and staff express appreciation to ALLICE founder-executive director Cherie Querol Moreno and 2019 president Elsa Agasid (holding bouquets) for giving an overview of and testimony on intimate partner and family violence. PHILCONGENSF PHOTO.

In her welcome remarks, Deputy Consul General Raquel R. Solano thanked the resource persons and expressed the hope that Consulate personnel would learn more about the issue and enhance their service to the Filipino community in line with the Department of Foreign Affairs’ (DFA) assistance-to-nationals mandate.

She also underscored the need to promote and fight for women’s rights as abuses against them are still prevalent despite various advocacies and 70 years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Human Rights Day is celebrated around the world every 10th of December each year.

“Let us all be sensitive to the needs of others, bearing in mind that everyone has inalienable rights and that we are all part of the family of mankind,” Ms. Solano said.

ALLICE Founder Querol Moreno offered statistics and encouraged Consulate personnel to participate in its activities to get a deeper understanding of the dynamics of abuse and its effects on families and communities. ALLICE is an independent nonprofit, nonpolitical, nonpartisan team of volunteers formed in 2003 to engage individuals and groups to share resources toward educating the public about healthy relationships.

Members call themselves Kumares and Kumpares, from the Filipino term for confidante.

In December 2006, current Philippine House of Representatives Speaker and former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo presented the “Kaanib ng Bayan” Presidential Citation for Filipino Individuals and Organizations Overseas to the CORA Kumares, as ALLICE was known while it was part of the San Mateo County domestic violence service agency. The group was honored for its “admirable humanitarian services in promoting the welfare of Filipino Americans and empowering them to end domestic violence.” In 2009, the group went independent and named itself after its honorary chair, the late Ms. Alice Bulos, a retired sociology professor who dedicated her life to empowering the community.

The Consulate’s event was part of the DFA’s series of activities in the 18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women, instituted in the Philippines by Proclamation No. 1172, s. 2006. The 18-Day Campaign underscores the Philippine Government’s commitment to address all forms of violence against women by protecting women’s rights as enshrined in the 1987 Philippine Constitution and the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). The late Filipino diplomat Leticia Ramos Shahani was one of the original drafters of the CEDAW.

For online resources on domestic violence, click: http://allicekumares.com/dvresources/