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Women empowerment must be our legacy: Dragonfruit Queen of the Philippines

DEL CARMEN, SURIGAO DEL NORTE. Dragonfruit Queen of the Philippines Edita Dacuycuy shares her success and inspiring story: of how dragonfruit’s therapeutic relief for her daughter with cerebral palsy turned her into a multi-awarded farmer-scientist. Now, through her company REFMAD-V, she continues to inspire farmers and entrepreneurs. 

“Let us continue to inspire and uplift the lives of small-holder farmers, women farmers, and persons with disabilities. Women empowerment must be our legacy,” she shared. 

SPEECH DELIVERED BY EDITA AGUINALDO DACUYCUY DURING THE “LEAF SIARGAO: MORE LOVE FOR WOMEN FARMERS” CONFERENCE LAST 23 FEBRUARY 2019 AT DEL CARMEN CONVENTION CENTER, DEL CARMEN, SIARGAO ISLAND, SURIGAO DEL NORTE 

To our government and private leaders, our hard working women farmers, our partners in progress for a better—if not for a best community—to the organizers of this very treasured memorable event, thank you very much for the opportunity of being with you today. Marajaw nga hapon

Looking back to the past, women have always been just behind a man’s success. It was so because women have been treated so delicately that most would just be for children, for the household and to care of the husband—so we would just be in the house—safe and ready for the husband to come home to after work.

Powerhouse women farmers, Seedling Queen Daisy Duran and PH Dragonfruit Queen, inspired the Siargaonons with their agri stories of perseverance and hard work.

But as time went on, it is realized that women could also be just like men: empowered with principles toward equality in business. Then we can now claim that what a man can conceive, we can conceive, what a man can do, we can do, and what man can achieve, we can achieve.

Having been acknowledged as among the outstanding women entrepreneurs and successful leaders by Go Negosyo, among 50 leading empowered women in the country, as a National Gawad Saka Awardee, these were the challenges for me to go through despite my age and as a woman-farmer.

Women empowerment strongly contributes to

  • economic build up,
  • establish stable and just society,
  • internationally achieve goal for development sustainability and woman rights,
  • improve fairly lives not only for women but for the whole family and communities, and
  • drive and propel business operations and goals.

In our respective communities, women act as “gender lens”, meaning the influence of women and their participation in the economic and social functions be reflected as the result of progress in the community.

Guided with the women empowerment principles initiated by the UN Women & UN Compact, now being adopted and practiced globally brings light to a realization of women’s equality with men.

Just to quote the 7 principles of women empowerment:

  • Establish a high level corporate leadership for gender equality.
  • Treat all women and men fairly at work—respect and support human rights and non-discrimination.
  • Ensure the health, safety, and well-being of all women and men workers.
  • Promote education, training, and professional development for women.
  • Implement enterprise development supply chain and marketing practices that empower women.
  • Promote equality through community initiatives and advocacy.
  • Measure and publicly report progress to achieve gender equality.

To benefit, therefore, our community to the fullest, we urge all women leaders to actively and progressively participate in the movement for gender equality. Our participation in the enterprise and in the community guarantees sound business sense now and in the future, and will benefit us all - locally and internationally.

Taking all there is into account, let us look back to where we are now in our family and community. This is a pre-assessment of what we have contributed as women:

  • Have we moved forward—had a leap from where we used to be?
  • Have we managed our time, to cope with our regular family functions, to enable us to spare time for women’s advancement?
  • Have we started participating in women’s activities toward progress—not just socially but economically?
  • Have we extended an extra effort to encourage participation of more women in women’s organization for development?
  • Have we realized that we can be a key that reinforces a successful and sustainable economy to our nation, making Philippines great again through women empowerment?

I was at Asian Women’s Summit in San Francisco California some time ago and had joined 21 women innovators of Asia. It brings the feeling of Asian women’s togetherness, similarities and fulfilment that strong evident of what a woman can do to a country. Just last January 11 of this year, Asian Thought Leaders conference was held in Napa Valley, California where I was very fortunate to be among the delegates.

700 Siargaonons participated in the “More Love for Women Farmers” conference, on 23 February 2019, at the Del Carmen Convention Center, Del Carmen Surigao del Norte.

Women empowerment was again given emphasis. It is convincing that women are great initiators and are performance-driven in any endeavour, whether it be in a simple enterprises or in the corporate world.

Let us strengthen our desires to empower women, and bring forth progress and better lives. Let us be instruments in the alleviation of poverty, in the upliftment of youth education, and in the improvement of our social and acceptability in society.

As a woman, may I leave with you a few inspiring yet challenging thoughts: my role as a woman spelled in my name EDITA: let us encourage and Enlighten every woman’s desire to Develop Initiatives and Innovations. Tapping and tendering every potential. Abilities and Advocacies for advancement to all women of today.

Thank you so much and God bless everyone. Long live women empowerment.

Edita Aguinaldo Dacuycuy is the owner of Refmad-V Enterprise. She is a Magsasaka Syentista and Women Innovator. She also won the as Outstanding Filipino Achiever for Business Excellence and Best Business Company at the Golden Globe 2015 Annual Awards for Business Excellence.

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