A lady lawmaker has asked the government to empower women in the barangays by providing them entrepreneurship training that would enable them to utilize their full potential and improve their families’ quality of life.
In a privilege speech, Rep. Elenita Milagros Ermita-Buhain (First District, Batangas) said including the womenfolk’s families in the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) or granting them loans is not the only solution to the problem of poverty.
“Now is the time that we have to refocus our energies on our womenfolk not just by including their families in the 4Ps or extending them loans. What is needed is to empower them by teaching those skills and knowledge that they could always turn to. Entrepreneurship is one of these windows,” Ermita-Buhain said.
Ermita-Buhain, who recently delivered her speech to mark the celebration of the International Women’s Month, said while many women distinguished themselves in the fields of education, medicine, the arts, culture, sciences and even politics, a greater number of womenfolk, especially in the countryside, need more empowerment.
“Many of them are plain housewives, mothers and idle womenfolk who depend on the men in their families and in the community and are often voiceless because they do not have the capacity to support their families’ needs,” Ermita-Buhain said.
But these women, she said, are still very potent though they may be silent.
Ermita-Buhain said in 2011, she helped organize a group of womenfolk in the barangays First District of Batangas called the Kilusan ng mga Kababaihan sa Unang Distrito. The organizers taught the women the values of uniting with their fellow mothers and housewives and embark on entrepreneurship. With a start-up capital of between P10,000 and P20,000, the women launched “bigasan ng bayan,” mini-grocery stores and farm-inputs trading.
After two years, some chapters failed to sustain their operations but a greater number succeeded, encouraging Ermita-Buhain to initiate a tie-up with Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, through which the women can obtain some skills to diversify their businesses.
“Hopefully, the message will sink in among the number of our womenfolk that there is no greater assistance that could be extended them but the mutual support they extend to each other. The ones that flourished well were the ones who believed in themselves, in their capacity to make changes in the quality of their lives and the ones who dared to dream,” Ermita-Buhain said.
Ermita-Buhain said for so long, the government has been thinking of ways by which it can empower women. Providing them entrepreneurship skills is the answer, the lawmaker said.
In pushing for her proposal, she quoted a proverb that says, “Give a man a fish and he will last a day; but teach him how to fish and he will last for a lifetime.”
“If we teach our women entrepreneurship, it is like planting a tree today that will bear much fruit in the future,” Ermita-Buhain said.