Saturday, August 16, 2014

9 Months Later: Women's Health After Haiyan

GTMF Deputy Executive Director Nic Torres and Plan International - Philippines Country Director
Catharina van der Hor present their signed agreement together with program officers from the two foundations. 
On Wednesday last week, GT-Metro Foundation (GTMF) formalized its partnership with Plan International - Philippines to build health stations with birthing facilities in three of Typhoon Haiyan's (Yolanda) hardest-hit areas -- Palo, Leyte; and Mercedes and Guiuan, Eastern Samar.

To quote GTMF's news release on Rappler:
GTMF Deputy Executive Director Nicanor L. Torres, Jr. considered the undertaking as Metrobank Group’s contribution to restoring access to health services, especially to pregnant mothers and their newborn babies. 
The World Health Organization estimated that some 220,000 pregnant mothers will give birth within the year and about 70,000 newborn babies are in need of care in Yolanda-affected areas. 
“As a foundation that is primarily into implementing health programs for disadvantaged communities, we see how a lack in working health facilities may reverse the gains that have been achieved in curbing maternal and infant mortalities in challenging areas,” said Mr. Torres. 
Each health station will be fully equipped to meet the basic health needs of up to 900 families residing in three to six adjacent barangays and cater to about 10-15 births per month.

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The damage caused by Haiyan in many of the country's health facilities has put around 3.7 million women of reproductive ages at risk, and 150 out of the 1,000 estimated births per day to experience life-threatening complications, per UNFPA reports.

To begin with, the Philippines has to exert serious efforts to meet its 52 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births Millennium Development Goal 5 target by next year after figures have jumped from 162 in 2006 to 221 in 2011. (No woman should die from giving birth in the first place!)

Eastern Samar has the highest recorded maternal deaths among all provinces in the country since 2007. Whatever gains it may have achieved in reducing its maternal mortality rate face risks of being reversed because of the severe health infrastructure damages caused by Haiyan. Additionally, Haiyan's effects on livelihood, which is said to bring more people below the poverty line, will have an indirect impact on women's ability to access health services.

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In the Yolanda Rehabilitation and Recovery Efforts report as of July 28, 2014 of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (OPARR), private sector participation in health rehabilitation comprise of 67 pledges to build health units and 237 for repair.

OPARR defined private sector to consist of private corporations and their foundations, people and community organizations, as well as local and international non-government organizations where GTMF and Plan fall under.

Friday, January 24, 2014

WoW teams up with Krav Maga Philippines for women's safety

World of Womanity (WoW) recently organized a practical self-defense demonstration session for female employees of Star Cruises Philippines at the Star Cruises Centre in Newport City, Pasay City last January 17.

The demo session was conducted by Krav Maga Philippines (KMP) Managing Director Kenneth Agustin and Senior Instructor Fred, using different street violence scenarios as training exercises.

KMP's Senior Instructor, Fred, demonstrates a move with Allen.
Krav Maga is a self-defense system that was developed in the late 1940s to enhance the combat skills of Israeli military forces.

Unlike martial arts, which has sporting and competitive elements, Krav Maga integrates instinct-based self-defence tactics with real life scenarios using simple and easy to learn movements that aim to disempower an attacker and let the target victim safely walk away. It focuses on technique over strength and awareness over mastery.

Moved by last year's incidences of violence against women, which included that of slain advertising executive, Kae Devantes, WoW approached KMP for the conduct of practical self-defense demo sessions, as well as the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP), for the dissemination of said opportunity to its members.

Star Cruises Philippines welcomed the opportunity as a way of equipping its female employees with skills that will empower them when confronted by an attacker.

Organizers and participants of the Practical Self-Defense Session
WoW would like to thank KMP Managing Director Kenneth Agustin and Senior Instructor, Fred; Star Cruises Vice President for Philippine Operations Michael Sibayan, Assistance Vice President Teri Llamas, and HR Coordinator Allen Rico; and IBPAP through Ms. Monette Hamlin.

From this blog to the concrete jungles of the workaday world, we are one for the women.

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Do you want to hold a similar session for your employees? Please send us a message at

Sunday, September 29, 2013

"Boring but Comforting"

The world changes as soon as a man and a woman decide to upgrade their relationship status from dating to married.

If their definition of sweetness constitutes the kilig factor, then they must be in for some serious disappointments. The kilig factor often wanes in just a few years as the couple falls into the trap of balancing the demands of domestic life and workaday world. Where dating couples can afford to spend late nights and weekends trying out the newest restaurant in town or catching the latest plays and movies, a married couple's typical weekend is spent juggling Gymboree classes and doctors' appointments with professional and personal commitments.

Then kids -- they literally, come in between the conjugal bed. Where newlyweds find it hard to get their hands off each other, making love at every opportunity, once to twice a month seems a healthy norm for those who are more immersed in the married life. Having it once a week is already a good month, as some would say.

Such set up buzzes an alarm for a woman who's at the prime of her single life: Can married life really get that boring?

A girl friend had to add a conjunction together with a fitting description of her married life. But comforting, she said.

One's husband is, as a life partner, a woman's best friend. To see less of the boring stuff and appreciate their nuisances, I thought of the following contrasts after listening to several friends talk about how they make their marriages comforting when it gets a little boring.

1. It is really acceptance, not submission.

The typical feminist may react negatively upon hearing the age-old advice of elders saying that women should submit to their husbands. (Even I would beg to differ!) Given this, we may have to consider changing the term as in reality, submission indicates a play on power. Acceptance recognizes individual differences; hence, it is very important to look at a potential mate's principles, priorities and personal goals before tying the knot!

2. It is partnership, not competition.

If we take a look at the other reasons why couples split up, we see how marriages crumble at the face of external challenges and conflicting views and desires. It might be safe to say that in such cases, couples have forgotten the big picture -- their commitment, dreams and even, love for each other -- by focusing on the problems and their differences. What couples fail to remember is that they made vows to be together through thick and thin, for richer and for poorer, and in sickness and in health. Marriage has bound them together so that they may work as partners, boosting each other's strengths and complementing each other's weaknesses. Instead, some couples seem to see each one as a competitor, which is telling of how poisonous power is once it is allowed into the relationship.

3. Steady and stable works longer than exciting.

Remember how long those racy night outs and exotic island vacations, a.k.a. what happens in Bora stays in Bora, lasted? Quick, yes. Any long-term relationship should be able to withstand the change of tides and seasons, as well as grow even after the excitement that comes along with novelty wears off. Noting that excitement necessitates surges in emotions, it may seem emotionally unhealthy if one's love life runs on rapidly varying emotions.

There is no single recipe to a relationship that lasts. And yes, this woman would be the last person in the world for credible advices on the relationship bureau.

So let's end this post with a rather blunt question:
Are you ready for boring but comforting?

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