CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Nearly a thousand women of all ages and status, clad in yellow and purple shirts, took to the streets Monday to demonstrate “women power” and uphold their rights for protection against abuse and gender equality.

The march, participated in by various women’s groups, was the highlight of the City Government’s celebration of Women’s Month aptly themed “Babae: Tagumpay Ka ng Bayan.”

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It is also part of several activities lined-up, including medical missions, barangay women’s committee meetings, free pap smear, women’s forum and an appreciation night for the “Natatanging Fernandina 2010.”

Akbayan Representative Riza Hontiveros, who graced the women’s walk, said it is now the time for “women power.”

“We have had two women presidents. It is time again para ating tingnan ang ating kalagayan, protektahan laban sa pang-aabuso, manindigan at tahakin ang landas ng pagbabago,” she told the women marchers.

Gender and Development officials Amy Catacutan and Marissa Cabral echoed Hontiveros’ statements, saying that part of empowering the women of the city is the thrust to have them “mainstreamed” into society to create awareness.

Councilor Rose Calimlim, for her part, said empowering women is a prime advocacy of the City Government.

“That is why I authored and passed the ordinance for the protection of our women in the city. This is our primary advocacy as we see to their needs and serve them equally with all our resources,” said Calimlim.

“Honorary Woman” Mayor Oscar Rodriguez, who had supported the women’s movement here, was just as honored and gratified.

“Women are part of our society. They must be treated equally with respect. That is why we at the City Government are providing them with all the basic services to address their needs not only during Women’s Month but each day of the year,” the mayor said.

Angelica Marie Yap, the granddaughter of Women’s Council chair Dr. Letty Yap, capped the march with a tribute to all women, as she said the women of today are “true signs of progress and an epitome of hard work and love for family.”