Empowering women and children

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By Luci Lizares


Saturday, June 21, 2014

IT WAS an evening of glitter as the women were glowing in their Filipiniana best. The occasion was the induction of officers of the Zonta Club of Bacolod for 2014 to 2016.

The new officers are Dr. Marilyn Marañon—president; Suzette Lacson—vice president; Edna Pahilanga and Rheeda Bantug—secretaries; Clarissa Maalat—treasurer; Honey Lopue—assistant treasurer; Elsie Gonzaga—PIO; Belen Elizalde—auditor; and Nina Arceo, Lina Lim, Manon Hernaez and Lanibelle Javelosa—board of directors.

The induction theme was “Education: The Key to Empowerment of Women in the Advancement of their Status in Society.” Since this is an organization of empowered women, professionals and businesswomen successful in their field of advocacies and collaboratively working together, the theme seemed to easily flow from the members.


Dr. Marañon has many flagship programs. Paramount to empowering women is education and the Zonta Club aims to sponsor children of the less privilege with scholarly capacities to be beneficiaries of this program.

In line with education is the need to make these children, particularly women, aware of the dangers of violence against their dignities and not to fall prey to human trafficking. Also, at tender ages, children should be alerted on the havoc drugs can do. They do not only become a menace to society but even a menace to themselves. Education on women includes teenage pregnancies which are prevalent these days. Girls, as young as 15, are now mothers without the knowledge of the responsibilities and the obligations of motherhood.

I was just listening to Angelina Jolie’s opening speech yesterday at the Global Summit in London 2014 titled, “End Sexual Violence in Conflict.”
Sexual violence and its attendant factors are the pressing problems of the world and we are not spared. She said, “Violence is a weapon of war and there is nothing inevitable about it.”

Zonta’s thrust for education is the best weapon against this: To be warned is to be forearmed.

As a doctor in the field of medicine, and with many friends in the profession, Marilyn endeavors to make women aware of their health, which is really the true wealth. Opening them to opportunities for education in the prevention of cancer and to avail of pap smears is part of her vision in her two- year term as president of Zonta Club. She likewise looks into the revival of the anti-TB (tuberculosis) vaccination for children.

Also in the pipeline is a support group for solo parents in Brgy. Banago to give them counsel and assistance. Being a solo parent is one of the hardest jobs in the world, more so if you are indigent.

For the children, there is the imperative need to learn how to read. How can they be empowered if they can’t read?

And foremost, the greatest need is for spiritual development. There is always the thirst, the void in our lives, if we do not cling to the Divine. Zonta Club aims to tie up with the Domingo Lacson National High School to give children some religious education.

We wish Marilyn the best in all her efforts. Women can only advance their status in society if they empowered. Congratulations and more power to you, Lyn!

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on June 21, 2014.


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