WOMEN ROLE MODELS
IT’S Women’s Month this March and two Pangasinan women leaders who have made their marks in public service in Dagupan City and in the province continue to earn tributes for their efforts and contributions.
Fourth District Rep. ‘Manay’ Gina de Venecia and Dagupan Vice Mayor ‘Ate’ Belen Fernandez are considered by various prestigious organizations among the top women leaders in the region today.
Manay Gina, wife of five-time Speaker Joe De Venecia, dubbed as the “Pangasinan Idol” for his long record of public service to Pangasinenses, is on her first term as congresswoman while Ate Belen is now on her second term of office.
In her first term as congresswoman, Manay Gina was chosen by her fellow congresswomen as president of the Association of Women Legislators in the 15th Congress and she is the only woman lawmaker honored among the Top Ten Congressmen of the Philippines by the Publishers Association of the Philippines (PAPI) last year.
In the case of Ate Belen, she is noted as the best woman entrepreneur in Northern Luzon today for successfully transforming a small sari-sari store into a modern-day supermarket and a chain of malls operating not just in Pangasinan but also in neighboring provinces.
To date, due to Fernandez’ foresight and business acumen, City Supermarket Inc. (CSI) has 15 branches all over Northern Luzon with another now undergoing construction. Her CSI Stadia dedicated in honor of her late father is now the biggest show room and venue of conferences in Northern Luzon.
Ate Belen is also dubbed “Sari-Sari Store Queen” for her unstinting support to owners of sari-sari stores so that they can rise above their present challenge and grow bigger.
CHAMPION OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN
While Manay Gina has been known as defender of abused women for establishing Women and Children’s Desks in all police stations in the country since February 15, 1997 and The Haven for Women that is now providing comfort and shelter to abused women, Ate Belen has similarly poured her full support to the establishment of day-care centers.
Ate Belen has been hailed Champion of Children’s Rights for her many projects for the young, that include regular feeding program, sports and youth development, such as the clinic and summer camp of Junior NBA, the donation of lap top computers to pupils, organization of the Annual Children’s Congress, the first of its kind in the Philippines, the Gulayan sa Barangay and many others.