Sunday, September 23, 2018
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At Large


In A previous column, I made mention of the planned Fifth World Conference of Women (WCW) for 2015, proposed at the United Nations last March 8, International Women’s Day.

The proposed WCW, said UN officials, is needed “to look closely not only at the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action but also at the emerging issues and the enormous changes taking place in the world which are having both positive and other implications for women.”


In that same column, I said the 2015 conference would be taking place a decade after the Fourth WCW in Beijing in 1995. I was wrong, of course. The Fifth WCW will be transpiring 20 years after the landmark Beijing conference, and enough time should have passed by then to revisit the goals set by the Beijing Platform for Action, and to set our sights on emerging issues that developments of the last two decades have spurred and created.

* * *

Greetings to my sisters in Pilipina, the national women’s organization, who made their way from all parts of the country this week to take part in our general assembly.

It’s hard to believe that Pilipina is celebrating its 32nd year, an astonishing milestone, but still, as I said during my welcome remarks, “it is young enough to explore new endeavors and break new ground; at least it still hasn’t reached menopause.”

It was heartwarming to see many familiar faces, but even more heartening was seeing many new faces, especially younger faces, of women who share our common analysis of the situation confronting Filipino women and our common goal of asserting women’s agency, autonomy and self-determination.

We reached a consensus to revisit our involvement in the party-list system, but pending a deeper study of efforts to amend the law that governs the implementation of the constitutional provision creating it, and to create mechanisms to make the party-list system more responsive to political and social reform. Many thanks, too, to partner-organizations—particularly Misereor—for making our assembly possible, and for sharing insights into how we could, as our theme put it, “[Continue] to Meet the Challenges to Fight Poverty, Build Peace and Promote Transformative Politics.”

It wasn’t all business and gender and politics, though. During our socials, we held a “Binibining Pilipina” that spoofed beauty contests but also, remarkably, highlighted the amazing talents of our intrepid sisters.

Dear sisters: May you carry with you not just the resolve to actualize the decisions we reached, but also the spirit of sisterhood nurtured through days of bonding and laughter, beer and song. We girls certainly had fun!

* * *


Death has occupied my thoughts the last few days, particularly because of news of the passing of people I knew.

I did not know personally Anna Katrina de Quiros, though I did meet her once, but her mother is the redoubtable Milen Sison de Quiros, a public relations practitioner who has become a friend. The story of Anna Katrina’s passing has been told on these pages by her paternal uncle Conrad, but still it is wrenching to mark the death of a 29-year-old and to such a “simple” proximate cause as dengue. I thought it very much appropriate that her parents chose a beloved “favorite” photo of her as a chubby five-year-old as the prevailing image at her wake. To parents, after all, our children will always remain children in our hearts, even if they eventually mature into adults and set off on their own lives and concerns. Which doesn’t make losing them any less tragic, pain-filled, or traumatic. There are no words, indeed.

Llita Logarta, Lifestyle editor of this newspaper before her retirement, was always a gracious presence, even if, in our old offices at the BF Condominium in Intramuros and on Romualdez Street in San Marcelino, the ambience tended toward the shabby and ramshackle. I also knew Llita mainly because of her daughter Margie, who was a year younger than me in high school at Maryknoll, and who served as my managing editor (if I remember right) at the Maryknoller. Symbols of Llita’s grace and spirit abounded at her wake: paintings, plants, antiques and so many friends—journalists, writers, even fellow alumnae of Maryknoll. Even as friends gathered around her orphaned family, they showed that in their collective memory, Llita lives on, grace-filled as of old.

I did not know personally Billy Esposo, though I did get to read frequently his writings, especially his column in another paper. I admired his fierce defense of issues and personalities he supported, but enjoyed even more his skewering of political figures who offended his sensibilities. Our little community of journalists is orphaned by his passing.

* * *

Fortunately, the mournful events of the past week was lightened by a most happy occasion: the “Double Infinity” birth anniversary of Larry Henares, a former columnist of this paper whom I was lucky to befriend when I served as opinion editor.

Highlight of the evening was the tribute program paid to Larry by his children, who chose as the theme of the celebration Larry’s “career” as a filmmaker, albeit in mostly home movies (starring his talented brood). There was nothing “small” or “domestic” about these productions, though, as they dared cover topics like rape, violence, murder, madness—what was he thinking, indeed?

My favorite part of the program, though, were the final clips in tribute of Larry’s inspiration, his late wife Cecilia. It was obvious, given the fascinating footage, why Larry would have fallen for the lovely Cecilia who, it turns out, had the steely resolve needed to rein in the more impish and reckless tendencies of Larry. Here’s to many more and happy years, dear Larry!

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TAGS: At Large, death notice, international women’s day, obit, opinion, Pilipina, Rina Jimenez-David
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