Spearheaded by the Men Oppose Violence Against Women and Children Everywhere (MOVE) with the local government unit, the regional kick-off of the 18-day campaign to end violence against women took place at the city grounds last November 25, 6:00 o’clock in the evening. This year’s theme says “End Violence Against Women (VAW) Now! It’s our Duty.”

Delegates from the different sectors of the community gathered for this advocacy to protect the rights of women. Employees of the city hall, delegations from the different barangays in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat Electric Cooperative (SUKELCO), Sultan Kudarat Water District (SKWD), Notre Dame of Tacurong College (NDTC), Philippine National Police (PNP), and guests from the neighbouring cities/municipalities were present along with Tacurong City Mayor Lina Montilla, Vice Mayor Joseph Jorge Lechonsito, City Councilors, and other key officials.

Gender and Development Committee Chairperson Hon. Psyche Sucaldito provided the rationale of the activity. Under the signed Republic Act 10398, November 25 of every year is declared as the “National Consciousness Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Children.” The law also mandates key agencies to conduct activities that would raise public awareness regarding VAW.

As a symbol of the kick-off, lighting of the fountains was fronted by Mayor Montilla, Vice Mayor Lechonsito, Councilor Sucaldito, and Councilor Charito Collado. Simultaneous lighting of candles by all of the participants followed the said ceremony.

“Violence against women is everybody’s duty,” said Mayor Montilla in her message. She added that all citizens regardless of each one’s status have the capacity to help end violence against women. (Ariesha Faith M. Dimaano-LGU Tacurong City)