MANILA - Vice President Leni Robredo encouraged first-time women entrepreneurs to expand their businesses as she revealed that empowering wives has become her personal advocacy from her experience as a young lawyer in Naga City.
Robredo told some 40 graduates of an entrepreneurship boot camp that her advocacy pushing for economic empowerment for women started when she was defending battered wives.
She recalled that she noticed the cycle among several battered women who would initiate the filing of cases against their husbands only to lose interest in the case later on.
“Kahit gusto na niyang iwan 'yung asawa niya, dala ang mga anak niya, dahil tuloy-tuloy ang pambubugbog, wala siyang lakas ng loob kasi pakiramdam niya ay hindi niya kayang buhayin ang mga anak niya,” Robredo said.
(Even if she wants to leave her husband, because of their children, because of continuous beating, she has no courage because she thinks she cannot raise her children.)
The boot camp was spearheaded by the Office of the Vice President’s Angat Buhay Program, in partnership with the Dutch Embassy and non-government organization Spark.
The Vice President stressed the need for more women entrepreneurs, not only to empower battered women but to help mothers and wives augment their family income.
“Mula noon nung nakita ko na 'yung pattern, naging personal na adbokasiya ko na ang economic empowerment,” Robredo said.
(Ever since I saw the pattern, economic empowerment has become a personal advocacy.)
Robredo also lamented that trainings for entrepreneurs done by other government offices are most of the time not enough to sustain small-scale businesses.
“Maraming government offices nagbibigay ng trainings, mga LGU (local government units) nagbibigay ng training, pero dapat kasi hindi siya natatapos sa training. Dapat talagang malaki 'yung handholding na ginagawa para 'yung training ma-transalate sa hanapbuhay talaga,” Robredo said.
(Many government offices give training, LGus that give training, but it should not end there. There should be hand holding for them to translate training to livelihood.)
Among businesses and products of the women entrepreneurs were indigenous woven fabric from Bukidnon and Basilan, bottled delicacies, accessories.