The National Women’s Month Celebration is part of the worldwide observance of the International Women’s Day (IWD). It is conducted annually in recognition of women’s significant contributions in nation-building.

In line with this year’s theme “We Make Change Work for Women” that aims to empower women as active contributors to and claimholders of development, the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) officials and employees made a visit to the Municipality of Bustos, Bulacan on 14-15 March 2019to gain in-depth knowledge on the different struggles and success stories of women and children in the municipality.

A total of seventy eight (78) personnel participated in the following activities: (1) a lecture-demo on economic waste management conducted by the Konsehong Pambayan para sa Kababaihan ng Bustos, Bulacan; (2) briefing on the center’s programsand musical performances of the children at Bahay at Yaman ni San Martin de Porres Inc.; and (3) orientation and interaction with the patients of Hospicio de San Juan de Dios.

Konsehong Pambayan para sa Kababaihan (KPK) ng Bustos, Bulacan

KPK is part of the Panlalawigang Komisyon para sa Kababaihan ng Bulakan (PKKB).  It is a non-government organization that was formed to establish a clear vision for women, ensure gender equality, provide women access to socio-political and economic opportunities, utilize and hone the skills and abilities of women in Bustos, Bulacan.

KPK organizes different activities and programs involving different women organizations in the barangays of Bustos. To help the municipality in its garbage problem,KPK involves women, particularly mothers, in waste segregation and recycling of non-biodegradable materials such as straws, newspapers, and plastics. The recycled materials are then made into beautiful handbags, coin purses, baskets, and other similar items which are being sold to interested buyers. KPK’s advocacy enables women to be economically independent and contribute to the financial needs of their families.

After the lecture-demo on waste recycling, SET personnel made their own handbags, coin purses, baskets and trays.

To know more about the products and involvement of women in the activities and projects of the municipality, you may contact Ms. Armicelia Arquero, KPK President, at +63 932 119 6186. KPK’s office is located at Bustos Municipal Hall, Municipal Rd., Bustos, 3007 Bulacan.

Bahay at Yaman ni San Martin de Porres, Inc. (BYSMPI)

BYSMPIis a non-profit organization that takes care of children in crisis (e.g. street children, runaways, orphans, homeless, destitute, abandoned and physically-abused).It is located at Mission Road, Bonga Menor, Bustos, Bulacan.      

BYSMPI started operating as a feeding center in June 2002, and was then called the Saint Martin de Porres Soup Kitchen. The vision of the soup kitchen was to help the homeless street children of Manila. Through the initiative of Rev. Fr. Florentino “Boyet” S. Concepcion, some 50 street children would go for lunch and dinner everyday. Eventually, they stayed for longer periods of time.  In December 2003, a house was built in Bustos, Bulacan to provide a more permanent shelter for the children.  Several programs were then created to ensure their healing and well-being.

Today, BYSMPI houses more than 150 children, with ages ranging from 6 to 17 years old.  These consist of street children, victims of child labor, physical abuse and substance abuse.

SET personnel donated some basic items for the children. The children made musical renditions which were greatly applauded by the SET audience.

For interested volunteers and benefactors, you may contact Ms. Myrna del Rosario at +63 922 834 1940.

Hospicio de San Juan de Dios of Bustos, Bulacan

The hospice is a mental institution that houses abandoned women with varying psychiatric conditions. It is located at Purok 7, Claro Santos Street, Bonga Menor, Bustos, Bulacan, just beside BYSMPI.  The patients suffer from schizophrenia, mental retardation, anti-social personality disorder, drug induced psychosis, dementia, and the like. It is being managed by the Brothers of Mercy of St. John of God.

The hospice is reserved for patients who are unable to pay for mental health treatments. Most of the patients were rescued from the streets while some were referred by social workers.The funds of Hospicio de San Juan de Dios are sourced mainly through donations and valuable help from benefactors.

After the orientation conducted by Bro. Raymond M. Marquez, FM, the female SET employees were allowed to interact with the patients.SET personnel also donated some basic items for the patients.

For interested benefactors, you may contact Bro. Raymond M. Marquez, FM, at +63 917 840 1989 or +63 916 925 2804 or email at brothersofmercy_fm@yahoo.com.

Sources:

2019 National Women’s Month Celebration. 2019, 1 March. Philippine Commission on Women. Retrieved from https://www.pcw.gov.ph/WomenMakeChange2019.

Brothers of Mercy, 2010, 16 March. Main Apostolate Hospicio San Juan de Dios. Retrieved from http://brothersofmercyfm.blogspot.com/2010/03/main-apostolate-hospicio-san-juan-de.html.

Philippine American Outreach Program, Inc. Giving Street Kids a Chance. Retrieved from http://www.paopi.org/content/san-martin-de-porres-0.

Ms. Armecelia Arquero, President of Konsehong Pambayan para sa Kababaihan ng Bustos, Bulacan (KPK) gave a lecture on waste management to SET personnel.

Bro. Raymond M. Marquez, FM gave an orientation to SET personnel on the history of Hospicio de San Juan de Dios and its current challenges.