HON. MAYOR RONALDO P. AQUINO
HON. CONGRESSMAN MEL SENEN S. SARMIENTO
1st District of Samar
MS. SOCORRO O. BOHOL
Chairperson of the Board of Trustees, WESADEF
MS. BELLA DE LOS REYES
MS. EMMA TAN-ELARDO
Executive Director, WESADEF
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Good morning to you all!
I am deeply honored and extremely pleased to be able to join you all in today's turnover ceremony. I would also like to express my sincere appreciation for your warm welcome extended to me and my colleagues.
The Government of Japan values each human life and believes in the inherent right of every individual to live a safe and dignified life. This is why it is a high priority for Japan to promote the empowerment of vulnerable people in the society under the concept of “human security,” which the Government of Japan has been advocating and promoting as one of the major pillars of Japan's diplomacy. This Women Resource Center has been established to provide much needed support to abused women and empower them for their dignified lives ahead. We are convinced that the efforts of the Western Samar Development Foundation or WESADEF, represented by this center, are a concrete manifestation of the human security concept.
Now the international community is increasingly aware of the importance of women's empowerment more than ever. Last year, the United Nations General Assembly also created an organization “UN Women,” bringing together and merging four distinct parts of the UN system working on gender equality and women's empowerment to generate greater impact. The grassroots activities conducted by WESADEF in this part of the Philippines no doubt form an integral part of these movements worldwide. With this new facility, as many as 60 women annually can have access to temporary shelter, psychosocial care, and training opportunities. It is not the number of persons assisted that counts, but the action taken to lend its helping hand to the women in need. The Embassy of Japan is pleased to be able to render its humble assistance to these active efforts of WESADEF.
Allow me to refer briefly to the Philippine Medical Assistance Team dispatched to Japan from June 28 to July 13. The mission of the team was to conduct psychosocial counseling for Filipino women and their families living in areas affected by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Those women were placed under tremendous stress and also needed psychosocial intervention to cope with the situation. In two weeks, the team visited hospitals and evacuation centers in affected areas and successfully provided psychosocial care and counseling for around 200 people. The Government of Japan is grateful for this kind assistance by the Philippines based on humanitarian concerns, and I would say that it is a proven fact for all of us that the people of the Philippines are always noted for their caring hearts and acts with a great deal of tenderness, which is also one of the national characteristics of its people.
In closing, I would also like to express my appreciation to all the members of WESADEF who have made great efforts for the successful implementation of this project. I hope that this project will be another testimony and milestone of the friendship between the peoples of the Philippines and Japan, which further fosters a strategic partnership between our two countries towards the future.
Thank you very much for your attention!