2nd National Summit on GAD in Co-ops

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I receive an invitation to give a welcome and opening remarks.  In the program attached to the letter, I am one of the five speakers and it was scheduled from 10:15 to 10:30 AM. I computed the time allotted for each speaker and it is only for three minutes. As a result, I prepared a 3-minute speech.  It did not go that way however.

Conscious about the time limit, I didn’t say much as the first speaker. The others who followed after me go beyond that and talked a lot of words of wisdom. I don’t know if I was the one who is out of sync but had I known that I can extend my time, I would have orated like I used to do in other speaking schedules. Had I not been the first to talk, I would made the necessary adjustment. But let me make it clear that I had no problem with what transpired. Things happen like that all the time.

I was talking about the 2nd National Summit on Gender and Development (GAD) in Co-ops at Crown Legacy Hotel, Baguio City last March 29-31, 2016. By the way, no one is as excited as Salome A. Ganibe about this well-attended and successful activity. Sally, as she prefers to be called, is the president of Gender Equality Resource Center (GERC) who organized and hosted the event.

Well, who would not be ecstatic. The conference hall was filled with a sea of people flowing even to the foyers. There are almost a thousand participants who came from every region nationwide exceeding all expectations. It almost doubled considering that the confirmed delegates before March 29 was around 500 pax only. The high turn out of participants shows that gender equality is alive and well in the co-operative sector. Another reason could be because the event is held in the City of Pines.

There is a perennial problem for organizers in hosting big events such as this. Participants do not confirm their attendance earlier in order for the event coordinators to arrange for a comfortable and convenient accommodation. Under this scenario, conference kits will surely not be enough causing those late participants to complain and the organizers go into panic mode. And this is just a minor matter. How about hotel rooms? Their food? I guess it is time to correct this attitude of not confirming in advance our participation to seminars. Luckily, this conference encountered some minor inconveniences.

The CDA was a partner by GERC on this three-day activity as part of the Women’s Month celebration. No less than the CDA Chairman, Orlando Ravanera, two of the CDA Board of Administrators, the CRITD staff of CDA Central Office came to assist to ensure its success. City Councilor Isabelo Cosalan, Mr. Rafael Tallocoy who represented the City Mayor, graced the activity despite their busy schedules.

There are other co-ops and various organizations lent their hand as well. This is an actual demonstration of the principle of cooperation between and among co-operatives. Some cash donations were pitched in by Benguet State University Multi-Purpose Co-op (BSU MPC), Baguio General Hospital Medical Center Employees MPC, Metro Baguio Ifugao Development Co-op and a number of co-ops in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao to augment the expenses.  Flowers from Bahong MPC, Benguet Fresh Produce MPC and Mt. Blooms MPC were used to ornament the stage. The CAR Co-op Dev’t Council and the Co-op Union of Baguio City jointly hosted the solidarity night showcasing the cultural dance performed by some students from King’s College.

This summit was indeed a smashing success. A 3rd GAD summit is already in the plans of GERC. I am almost sure of it.

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