Espina: ‘16 Days of Activism’

·3 min read

Every year, Zontians from all over the world would highlight its advocacy to end “Violence Against Women.” The campaign dubbed “16 Days of Activism,” according to past area director Stella Bernabe, started sometime in 1991 with the International Campaign of the Women Global Leadership Institute. Thereafter, Zonta International adopted the “16 Days of Activism” as a global project.

I became actively involved in the “16 Days of Activism” of the Zonta Club of Cebu 1 in the years 2016-2018 and 2018-2020. Currently, in 2021-2022, the Zontians continue to commemorate the “16 Days of Activism.” In the Philippines, some clubs expanded the event to 18 days.

For 2019-2020, under the stewardship of president Minnie Yuvienco and Area 3 director Bernabe, the past presidents, led by Yuvienco, had these activities: Eucharistic Celebration and Motorcade at St. Therese Church; the tri-celebration of the 100th anniversary of Zonta International; Golden Anniversary of Zonta Club of Cebu 1; and the grand launch of the “16 Days of Activism” at Ayala Center Cebu before some 1,000 barangay representatives—specifically from Budlaan, Ermita and Apas—and from the academe like University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R), Benedicto College (BC), University of the Visayas, Cebu Normal University (CNU), University of Cebu, Southwestern University, and Speechcom International.

It also launched the icon, model teacher Miss Zonya, and comics, posters and caricature contests; and highlighted the success story of a household maid Alice, a battered wife with a drug addict son. Talento Cebuanos were also awarded. The Z Clubs from Benedicto College, Talisay National High School, and USJ-R led the cultural performances of the different schools. Other progressive service projects were the One Stop Health and legal consultations at Barangays Junquera and Labangon—in coordination with Chong Hua Hospital, the Department of Health, GMA 7, IBP Cebu, and USJ-R Masscom students; seminars on health by Zontian Linda Binghay; and plays depicting VAW at CNU, organized by Zontian Nellie Chiu and the USJ-R Masscom and doctoral students. The essays on themes on VAW were conducted by 20 PhD Literature and English students of USJ-R (under Dr. MCE) in their specific schools in the Visayas and Mindanao, where Zonta 1 gathered some 1,000 written compositions.

An oratorical contest was conducted at Benedicto College. Speechcom covered the events through this SunStar column, Facebook and YouTube posts by Dr. MCE, member of the District 17 Area 3 PR Team. A big billboard display sponsored by Alcordo and Associates ran for weeks at Fuente Osmeña, Cebu City.

The biggest shout-out to accentuate the VAW advocacy was at the USJ-R Coliseum, before some 5,000 teachers, students and barangay representatives, with the special performance of Clifford Gawchua, who always sang the healing music for the campaign against VAW.

These events were covered widely by the Cebu tri-media (888 Forum, GMA 7, ABS-CBN) social networks (Facebook, YouTube and Instagram), Philippine Star, Manila Bulletin and Daily Inquirer, and the Masscom students of USJ-R and BC who also showed their crafted student videos on VAW based on actual case studies.

The Cebu Country Club was the site of the historic Hall of Fame of past presidents and their projects: Poster displays of VAW and Miss Zonya comics crafted by the USJ-R doctoral students; and the musical presentation with Miss Zonya and the Kenosis, and USJ-R performers, at the anniversary dinner, with special guest speaker District 17 Governor Teresa Lin who also visited the Zonta 1 Pink Center and the VAW referral Center.

We had almost a 100 percent membership attendance. Zontian Aida Uy solicited three round-trip tickets to any destinations care of Philippine Airlines and Turkish Airlines as door prizes.

This 2021, president Gina Atienza and project chairperson Jane Panganiban led a motorcade from the city to Budlaan for the club’s tree planting (Go Green project); a seminar on VAW by Zontian Evelyn Nuñez and stickering. There were posters, video contests among schools, and the cyber blast campaigns.

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