By Rosario Clarissa Marie M. Lota, Φ 2021, Class 2025
Since 2021, the Phi Lambda Delta Sorority has celebrated both Caritas and Women’s Month through Lila, an event that aims to promote women empowerment and challenge gender inequalities through education and awareness. This year, the sorority held Lila: Women in Leadership as a series of talks from esteemed speakers via an online webinar on Zoom and Facebook Live.
The sorority had decided to hold Lila online this year in order to reach a much larger audience. Together with the 7 organizations and 7 high schools that we partnered with, we were able to successfully invite over 450 students which consisted of both young women and men from around the Philippines.
Coming from different walks of life, our three (3) speakers -- Dr. Krisinda Clare "Krissy" C. Dim-Jamora, Hon. Sarah Jane I. Elago, and Sister Mary John Mananzan, OSB -- had shared their own personal experiences of being a woman in a male-dominated society.
Dr. Krissy Dim Jamora, Phi 1996A talked about how she balances being a doctor, a mother, and a loving wife. Having experienced many challenges in life herself, she reminded the audience that it really pays to be present in the moment, to know one's priorities, and most importantly, to plan ahead. Aside from this, she encouraged the audience to stick to what they want to do no matter how hard it gets because as Dr. Krissy said, "juggling these things are difficult, but it doesn't mean they can't be done."
Meanwhile, Hon. Sarah Jane I. Elago shared with us her journey as a female -- and the youngest -- member of the House of Representatives. Speaking from the perspective of an individual who has constantly been questioned and discriminated against for being a woman despite her many accomplishments, she talked about how age should not hinder oneself from speaking their truth and to fight for gender equality.
Our last speaker Sister Mary John Mananzan captured the heart of the audience. As one of the co-founders of GABRIELA, it was truly inspiring to hear her talk about her experiences in being a feminist activist, fighting for social justice and equality. She also left us with several take-home messages and a guide as to how we may be feminist leaders ourselves.
Through Lila, we hope that we were able to spark the fire in each individual to support the call for gender equality and women empowerment. Along with our partners and our speakers, the Phi Lambda Delta Sorority encourages everyone, especially women, to continue our fight against discrimination and break stereotypical barriers.
The Sorority also invited 3 speakers: Sir Jurgen Rushell G. Rapacon, Sir Robert Ignacio Lim, and Dr. Rossana A. Ditangco. Sir Jurgen Rapacon is a DOH-certified HIV, AIDS, and STI Peer Educator and Counselor who used acronyms like HIV 101 in 20 (minutes) and 6 numbers: 344801 corresponding to the 3 modes of transmission, 4 body fluids of HIV infection, 4 principles of a successful HIV transmission, 8 preventive strategies, 0 discrimination and 1 advocacy. It was truly an effective way of remembering the medical concepts about HIV and AIDS.
The last speaker, Dr. Rossana Ditangco, a medical specialist and HIV Research Program Lead at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), had a free-flowing discussion about the very important role of the youth in preventing HIV / AIDS. She also emphasized how necessary it is to educate about the risky behaviors and appropriate intervention since the transmission of the virus is not exclusive to a certain type of population. She also opened the discussion on how risky behaviors may be manifestations of mental health and gender sensitivity concerns that also need to be addressed to prevent behaviors that may put individuals at risk for HIV.
This event was filled with high-yield lectures and discussions about HIV / AIDS to raise awareness especially among the youth so they may empower themselves with the correct knowledge and avenue for support. With the help of the speakers who took part in this advocacy, partner organizations and schools, the Phi Lambda Delta Sorority urges everyone to be aware, be informed, and be empoweRED.