Campaign to end violence against women opens with sky lantern release, flash mob

The symbolic lighting and releasing of sky lanterns capped the Kick-Off Activity of the 2012 18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women (VAW) held at the Quirino Grandstand yesterday. “As the lanterns fly to the heavens, send along your prayers and wishes. May we all be inspired by the lantern -lit sky to make a VAW-free society happen,” Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) Chairperson Remedios Ignacio-Rikken said.

Rikken encouraged the crowd to continuously learn more about VAW and do ways to combat it. “Hindi porke’t alam na natin ang ibig sabihin ng VAW ay alam na natin lahat ukol dito. Remember, knowledge is not equal to wisdom,” she said.

Spanish Ambassador to the Philippines HE Jorge Domecq and Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, as well as leaders of various government agencies, local government units, private and public schools and colleges, and non-government organizations, showed their support to the advocacy of ending the “global pandemic.”

Ambassador Domecq said that taking women into account and valuing their influence will lessen vulnerabilities in times of emergencies and conflicts. “The capacities of women are too often unseen, and their preventive-mediating-resolving character must be reinforced and promoted to establish the necessary measures,” he said.

Lim stressed Manila’s commitment to give “priority actions” on VAW complaints especially those involving trafficking, prostitution, cyber sex and domestic violence. “We see to it that women (in Manila City) are protected and taken care of and those who do wrong to them are brought to justice,” Lim said.

The Las Piñas Performers led the flash mob dance to the tune of Noel Cabangon’s “Kumilos, Mga Kalalakihan!” The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Band, meanwhile, played “Babae, Bumangon Ka!” and the Korean hit “Gangnam Style.” Other performers were Pow Chavez and Encantada all-female band.

The 18-day campaign is commemorated annually from November 25 to December 12. This year’s theme, “VAW-Free Society in Times of Peace, Conflict and Calamity,” gives emphasis to the goals of raising the public’s awareness on and eliminating VAW during disaster and conflict situations.

Partners for this year’s campaign are the AECID (Agencia Espanola de Cooperacion Internacional para el Desarollo), United Nations (UN) Women, National Parks Development Committee, MMDA, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA), Metro Rail Transit (MRT), City Government of Manila, Brgy. San Lorenzo in Makati City, Zonta Club of Metro Pasig, Focus Media, and Summit Media.