The month of March signals the opening of Women's Month celebration at ERDB. This year's theme is "Juana, Ang Tatag Mo ay Tatag Natin sa Pagbangon at Pagsulong". It gives special recognition to the strong and resilient "Juanas" who inspired everyone all over the country and across the globe. It also recognizes the role of women who untiringly volunteered themselves in time of disaster, conflict, and calamity and their overall contributions to progress.

 

As part of the celebration, the GAD streamer was displayed at the ERDB throughout the month of March.

The activities started on March 3, a flag raising was held at the ERDB grounds sponsored by the GAD Focal Point System headed by Dr. Marilyn Q. Landicho and other members of the GAD. After the ceremony, raffle prizes were given away.

On March 4, the Advocacy Walk was held all around the UP College of Forestry Campus. This was led by Dir. Portia G. Lapitan and Asst. Dir. Antonio M. Daño. Other representatives were from DENR Region 4A, Forest Products Research and Development Institute (FPRDI), and Local Government Unit of Los Baños.

After the Advocacy Walk, the program followed at the ERDB lobby. In her welcome remarks, the ERDB Director Portia G. Lapitan thanked the representatives from LGU Los Baños, ASEAN Center for Biodiversity, Forest Products Research and Development Institute, Community and Environment and Natural Resources Office, ERDS Reg. 4A and the Los Baños Road Runners (motorcycle club).

Dir. Lapitan said, "As women, we should set a good example in proving that "Juanas" or Filipino women are the strength of our country towards progress".

The occasion also gave way to the awarding of certificates of recognition to For. Monnette S. Santos, former GAD Focal Point. It was awarded for her 15 years of wholehearted dedication, fruitful initiative and leadership, and untiring enthusiasm towards progress of Gender and Development at the ERDB.

Ms. Grace Magpantay rendered a song number titled "Beautiful" while Mr. Florentina Oliva introduced the resource speaker Mrs. Lyn Fernando F. Lawas, a lady jeepney driver.

The guest speaker during the occasion was Mrs. Lyn Fernando Lawas, a woman jeepney driver. Mrs. Fernando said, "I am proud to say that in my 31 years of driving, I have earned the respect of my peers and passengers since they say that women are more careful drivers than men."

She said that through driving, she was able to send her 2 children to school. The eldest is a B. S. Biology graduate (Cum Laude) from UP Los Baños who is working at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and now pursuing her Master's Degree in Molecular Biology. The other child is a BS Nursing graduate.

She ended her speech by saying that, "Tunay nga po na ang pagiging isang babae ay hindi hadlang upang tayo ay makapagpakita ng lakas at kahalagahan sa ating pamilya at komunidad. Lahat tayo ay may kanya-kanyang kuwento ng ating buhay, babae man o lalake, magagawa natin kung ano man ang ating naisin kung tayo ay may determinasyon at pananampalataya sa Diyos".

The "Tianggehan sa ERDB" was also opened on March 4. The one-day bazaar featured a variety of products like fruits, clothes, accessories and other food items.

The Gising Diwa Program was likewise conducted in Sta. Rosa Elementary School, Central III on March 7, 2014 among Grade 5 students. Topics discussed include the Dynamics and Importance of Water by Ms. Monnette Mauricio. Dr. Malou Moreno discussed the topic' "Biodiversity and You" while Mrs. Lyn Calderon presented a lecture on how to survive a 72-hour disaster. After the presentations, the children posted the leaf-shaped cartolina on the board. Each leaf has a written commitment to mother earth. Marla V. Cambay, TDD