Cup storiesBy madrilena de la cerna
Cebu Daily News
The incident that happened between Commissioner Cristy Ramos and the Azkals is one glaring example of the need to heighten the campaign against sexual harassment. A woman (and an official at that) in the company of men gets a loud remark about her vital statistics (“That must be Cup B!” said one of the Azkals with everyone laughing). That is one of the most unpleasant situations for a woman to be in. Commenting about a woman’s vital statistics are heard from radio commentators and are even made into a song played on the airlanes, jukebox and karaoke bars. “Haskang Hubaga Bay” is a song about a voluptuous woman, and every time it is played, only the men are amused. What is bad about it is that children listen and learn to sing the song.
Another Cup story was shared by a female friend who is a member of the Cebu Women’s Network and a retired police official. Last year, she was in the panel that screened new recruits of the city police. One female recruit had good credentials but the panel did not consider her because she was a Cup C. They said that the practice is not to recruit policewomen with a Cup C because it would be difficult for them to arrest an offender. My friend insisted that having a large bosom is not a hindrance to police work and besides she had good credentials. When the panel insisted on rejecting her, my friend told them that the action of the panel would reach the Provincial Women’s Commission and eventually a lawsuit might be filed against the panel for discrimination. Then the panel reconsidered her. Who is more effective—a policewoman with big boobs or a policeman with a huge belly (and there are many of them in the force), not to mention the aesthetic side of it? I would support the need to put more women in the police force.
Women’s Month has featured time and again the accomplishments of women and even inscribed on heritage cards and exhibited in public places the Cebuana Trailblazers (Sugbuanang Tag-una). But there are a few Cebuana Trailblazers not in the list for delicadeza. One of these is the woman who was the brains behind the project Cebuana Trailblazers and conceived the heritage cards to honor the accomplishments of women. She is Dolores Alino, more popularly known as Lolet, the executive director of the Legal Alternatives for Women Center Inc. (LAW, Inc.), who used to be the secretariat of the Provincial Women’s Commission which funded the project. I have known Lolet since our college days at St. Theresa’s College in the 1960s. Her batch was one year ahead of us. In the annual plays of STC at that time, male roles were played by college students with mellow voices and Lolet was one of them. She played one of the lead male roles of the STC production of “As You Like It” (this was the time of Laurice Guillen). I also remember how Lolet would snap her fingers anywhere in the campus when the Broadway musical “West Side Story” was driving everyone crazy. She had two courses (AB and BSE) so she graduated together with our batch. As history majors, Lolet and I joined three other history majors in a History Symposium in 1967 which served as our revalida for our theses under the tutelage of Dr. Lourdes Reynes Quisumbing who was also our adviser. Lolet presented her thesis on “The Historical Beginnings of the Vietnam Conflict.” After graduation, she taught history for one year at St. Theresa’s College High School Department. The she worked as the college librarian of St. Theresa’s College for 12 years. During the Marcos dictatorship, Lolet was an activist who preferred to stay above ground. From library work she moved to work actively for the workers’ rights, issues and concerns when she was the executive director of the Visayas Human Development Agency (VIHDA) for 15 years (1981 to 1995). Then with the Beijing Confrence just concluded, she founded the Legal Alternatives for Women Center Inc. what is now known as LAW Inc. in 1996 which gave rise to the various women’s groups in Cebu. With the Provincial Women’s Commission established she engaged the LGUs which led to the LAW Inc. as the secretariat of the Provincial Woman’s Commission. The rest is history as she stays at the helm of LAW Center, Inc. as executive director. The various experiences of Lolet contributed to her perseverance in any project she initiates. Always optimistic about her programs, she also has a strong spiritual side so that she brings together with women’s advocacy the much-needed spirituality. She uses the media to the fullest to discuss, clarify issues and listen to women themselves. Every weekend she holds two radio programs for women. On Saturdays, she has “Takna sa Kababayen-an” at radio dyLA, at 2 p.m., and on Sundays, she has “Tingog sa Kababayen-an” at Bantay Radyo at 10 a.m. On the last Wednesday of the month, in partnership with CELLA, LAW Inc. participates in the CCTN talk show Partners in Law which tackles women’s issues. More power and creative ideas for women, Let!.