Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia yesterday said he is not “anti-women” and pointed out that it was, in fact, during his incumbency that the Bacolod City Gender and Development Council was convened.
“This is one of the most ridiculous accusations ever hurled against me in my entire political career,” he said in reaction to the claims of city employee Maria Teresa Lozada in a local paper, not the DAILY STAR, after she received the Civil Service Commission ruling reversing the mayor’s decision to transfer her from the City Population Office to the Bacolod Handumanan Public Cemetery in Brgy. Handumanan.
Lozada, Akbayan Bacolod president and the city representative for the Visayas of the Local Government Unions of the Philippines, however, received another letter from the City Legal Office signed by Romela Amarilla saying “that she cannot be restored to the City Population Office because the CSC decision is under appeal.”
Leonardia said he believes there must be local politicians behind this because elections are approaching. But this matter is in the process of a legal adjudication, so he will leave it at that, and will wait for the CSC to act on it, he said.
“Whatever the result, we will accept it, but at the same time we also uphold our prerogative to deal with this matter according to its merits,” he added.
Leonardia said he would like to clarify that when they deal with personnel matters in Bacolod City, it is not a question of gender at all. The issue of being anti-women is a twisted, or even a malicious slant, he said.
“For the record, the GAD was even convened during my incumbency. Before me, there was an ordinance in 2002 to convene the GAD Council but it was not convened by the previous mayor,” Leonardia added.
The mayor he succeeded was in fact, a woman.
Councilor Em Legaspi-Ang, chairman of the GAD Council, said Bacolod City is basically ran, predominantly by women.
She said Bacolod is one of the few local governments where most of the department heads are women – the fire marshal, the City Treasurer, the City Health Officer, the Bacolod City College administrator, the City Engineer and most of the CEO high level officers and department heads, and many others.
“I am proud to say that the GAD Council of Bacolod is perhaps one of the most active – and a really functioning and working GAD Council,” Ang said.
She also said they have many activities implemented in the city that concerns the protection and promotion of women’s rights, and projects benefiting women and children. All these projects would not be possible without the leadership of the mayor, she added.
Ang cited, for example, that in disaster preparedness, the city through the GAD Council has conducted a disaster preparedness program which is specific for women –Integrating Gender Perspectives in Disaster Preparedness and Risk Reduction. That is how gender responsive and sensitive this administration is, she said.
Meanwhile, Ang said they have lined up several activities for the celebration of Women’s Month like fora, seminars on disaster risk reduction, food-for-work program, barangay clean-up/environment program, trained barangay officials regarding Barangay Protection Order, and information dissemination campaign in the barangays regarding new ordinance passed regarding plastic bag and styrofoam ban.*CGS