Iloilo Province GAD LLH: Expanding Economic Opportunities for Women through Convergence

Iloilo Province was among the five (5) pioneer LGUs recognized by the PCW in 2015 for its notable GAD initiatives and program.  The Provincial Government remains committed in the implementation of a Convergence for Women’s Economic Empowerment Program to empower women micro-entrepreneurs to start and sustain their local business.

Iloilo Provincial Government and the Convergence for WEE Program

The Convergence for Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) Program began when the PCW through its Gender-responsive Economic Actions for the Transformation of Women Project (GREAT) partnered with the Iloilo Provincial Government in 2009. Through this partnership, the Convergence for WEE as a strategy was introduced which optimized the relevant programs and services of public and private sectors, including the gains from inter-government linkages. Further, the Program supports the community-managed enterprises and related facilities in the Province of Iloilo through the sharing of business knowledge and technical expertise by converging with various stakeholders and partners.

To institutionalize the Province’s efforts to improve its local economy, the Provincial Ordinance No. 2015-124 was issued which amended and enhanced the Iloilo Provincial Investment and Incentives Code of 2015 to develop markets for Iloilo products and hasten the economic development in the Province. The Iloilo Provincial Investment Promotions Board (IPIPB) was created under this code to implement its objectives and provisions. Notably, gender equality is one of its considerations in identifying the priority areas of investment for the Province. To support the IPIPB and serve as its Secretariat, the Local Economic Development Investment Program (LEDIP) Center was established, which also manages the Convergence for WEE Program of the Province.

The LEDIP Center is strategically located at the Provincial Government Hall of Iloilo Province. It coordinates with the LGUs, national and sub-national agencies, the academe, non-profit organizations, and business support groups with mandates and expertise on enterprise development to help women micro-entrepreneurs and community associations to start or sustain their local businesses. The Program provides women micro-entrepreneurs with continuous access to trade fairs to help expand their market reach. The LEDIP Center has launched trade fairs such as Tiendas Ilonggas, a weeklong trade fair of local agricultural and handmade products by the women entrepreneurs.

Among the convergence efforts of the Program is the cooperation and partnership with the following agencies and organizations: the DTI for offering trade fairs and events where micro-entrepreneurs can showcase or sell their local products; the Department of Agriculture for supporting the production and supply of raw materials; the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) for providing the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) starter kit, and trainings on seed capital usage and marketing; the DOST for co-sponsoring trainings on packaging and labelling with related equipment use, food safety, and product innovation; the ECHOsi Foundation for supporting the improvement of local products of the women-led micro enterprise; the POPA Cooperative and the Orchard Valley, Inc. for the conduct of squash production and marketing; Global Shapers-Iloilo for introducing the online platform for the Iloilo Province’ e-commerce especially during the onset of the pandemic; and the Integrated Entrepreneurs of Iloilo Philippines, Inc. for actively participating in the Iloilo Province’ e-commerce.

The WEE Program caters directly to women entrepreneurs and women in community associations as its direct beneficiaries. Women comprise 75-80% of the total number of beneficiaries, but the Program also extends support to men and the youth entrepreneurs by providing them capacity building on basic accounting, product inventory, design, packaging, and marketing.

The Program, through the LEDIP Center, also assisted women micro entrepreneur associations to set up their own common-service facility (CSF) such as the Cabayogan Women’s Loom Weaving Association Facility situated in Badiangan.

During the onset of the pandemic, the Provincial Government of Iloilo sustained the Program by introducing the Iloilo Wholesale Tindahan (IWT), an online selling initiative through the Global Shapers-Iloilo in cooperation with Ilonggo Stakeholders to help match local producers with bulk buyers and sellers, and facilitate logistics and payment collections. Through this initiative, more women in the farmer households, or in cooperatives and associations were able to find means to sell their farm produce even in the midst of the COVID-19 lockdowns.

The GAD LLH of Iloilo Province continues to receive positive feedback from visiting clients who aspire to replicate the Convergence for WEE Program in their respective LGUs. Thus, it contributes to the achievement of the GEWE goal on expanding economic opportunities for more women belonging to the marginalized groups. This Program is worth-emulating by other LGUs as it continues to empower more women as they enjoy higher incomes from micro-entrepreneurship.

GAD LLH Coordinator:

Senior Economic Specialist Ms. Velma Jane Lao
Email address:
Landline/ Phone No.: (+63 33) 336-8151 or 337-1739

GAD Local Learning Hubs: 

Abra de Ilog (Likha Iraya)
Aklan (ACCW and MOVE-Aklan Chapter)
Baybay City (BMIS and WEE Program)
Davao City (IGDD, OSC-VAW, CMC, and Ray of Hope Village)
Iloilo (Convergence for Women’s Economic Empowerment Program)
Mabalacat City (Early Childhood Care and Development Program)
Misamis Occidental (PGADO)
Naga (Bantay Familia, GROW Negosyo Program, and Breast Feeding Program)
Palawan (LWC)
Pangasinan (PCIC)
Quezon City (QCPC and Social Hygiene and Sundown Clinics)
Quezon Province (PGADO, LKB Program, and 2-in-1 Program)