by Marycon Anne Boston, MARCH 2023
It was Friday (March 24) at the crack of dawn when the team and I drove to Tarlac armed with gloves, caps, arm sleeves and some sunscreen. Sleepy, enduring the heat of the sun, we patiently waited in an empty lot beside an expressway. Then time came when we were told to stand in front of our assigned seedling, an Ylang-Ylang plant. With excitement, I immediately grabbed it, removed the plastic bag, put it inside the hole and gently filled it with soil. I also rushed to the nearest drum of water to sprinkle some on my newly planted Ylang-Ylang. Selfies and group photos were taken with their plants and a short program followed. As the program progressed, it struck me to hear young girls recite a pledge for the future which got me pondering on my ability to make a difference through that single tree.
What more can women contribute to the environment and society if only empowered and given equal rights?
Every March, the country celebrates women’s contribution to society as designated by the Presidential Proclamation No. 227 series of 1998. In its annual Gender and Development Advocacy Caravan, the Toll Regulatory Board together with the 18 tollway operators and concessionaires, held a tree planting activity at TPLEX Anao Interchange (Anao, Tarlac) last March 24, 2023 as celebration of the women’s month. Ten representatives from MPTSouth participated in the activity with the theme, “we for gender equality and inclusive society ” (2023-2028).
Hosted by NAIAX, the highlight of the caravan is the pledge to the environment and the planting of Ylang-Ylang seedlings, a native flower abundant in the municipality of Anao that prides itself in production of various products from its scent. Atty. Alvin Carullo, Executive Director of TRB, Hon. Gian De Dios, Mayor of Anao, Tarlac, with Hon. Dona R. Tesoro, Mayor of San Manuel, as the guest speaker graced the meaningful event.
For the tollway businesses, the annual activity is symbolism of taking their part in the promotion of equal power relations, exercise of equal rights and highlighting the role of women in the industry. It is also a reminder of their shared responsibility in taking care of the environment as we push for road developments. All these are vital in achieving a better future for the generations to come.
As we begin this new period of celebration and advocacy, I hope and envision that WE are all for Gender Equality and We are all for an inclusive society. By uniting in this pursuit as a nation, we may be able to provide opportunities, empower and enable women to reach their potential, become stewards of environment and significant contributors in the upliftment of the society.
About the writer:
Marycon Anne Boston. A Clinical Psychology major who loves to play sports and go on spontaneous solo travels.