By Raymund F. Antonio
An advocate of women empowerment, Vice President Maria Leonor ‘Leni’ G. Robredo underscored the need to form a market linkage between women entrepreneurs offering products and services and clients, particularly the government, to help them reach their full economic potential.
“When we were assessing the existing programs for women, we have many skills, livelihood trainings, but we don’t look at how we would be able to link women are doing to the market,” she said over the weekend in Romblon.
The Vice President noted the government can provide employment opportunities to jobless women in the country.
“The biggest market in every place is the government. What does it buy outside? Let us say for example the government always holds a conference, where it needs catering. The government needs people to make curtains, uniforms for city hall perosnnel, school bags for schools,” she said.
The widow of late Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo recalled that Naga City, which used to be led by her husband as mayor, passed an ordinance wherein the local government would buy 30 percent of its products and services from women or women’s groups.
Women’s groups were trained in catering services and sewing then they were hired to handle functions in City Hall and sew uniforms for public schools.
Robredo lamented the lack of labor market for women after undergoing trainings in Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and Department of Agriculture (DA).
With their trainings, she emphasized that there should be a “sure market” for them.
The Global Gender Gap Report of 2016 ranked the Philippines 7th among the 10 most gender equal countries in the world, but Robredo earlier claimed much work still has to be done given that the country is at a “difficult time for women.”
She has been pushing for women’s empowerment to help them become more financially independent.