STA. RITA -- Some 400 women from different barangays here received Thursday free social services from the Women’s Month culminating program led by Mayor Yolanda “Yolly” Pineda at the San Jose Covered Court.

In an interview, Pineda said the activity aims to provide a “day-off” for hardworking women in the town so that they can relax from their professional and household duties.

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Pineda said the event was also meant as a venue to promote awareness on women’s rights and the International Women’s Month (IWM) being celebrated every month of March.

“We are giving them a free time in which they can enjoy the small pleasures of being a woman,” Pineda said, stressing the great importance of women in society, the community and nation building. Among the services offered for free during the event included haircut, manicure and pedicure, and massage.

There was also a talk on women’s rights in today’s society. Pineda said Republic 9262 also known as "Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004" protects women from various forms of violence such as physical, psychological, sexual and economic abuse.

She assured women attendees in the event that they can seek the help local authorities, barangay officials, social workers and police officers to report abuses and seek protection order in case of abuse.

Pineda said women should not be confined at home, instead they should be given opportunity to find jobs, empower themselves and participate in development undertakings just like her, mother not only to her family but also to her constituents. Pineda also distributed some “Nego-Kart” or Negosyo sa Kariton to indigent ambulant vendors here, majority of them—women.

“We would like to see our women in this town become more and more active in community participation and in business,” Pineda said.