Despite the threat of pandemic, the Commission on Audit (COA) Regional Office No. VI held kick off activities to honor women in the celebration of the 2021 National Women’s Month with the theme, “Juana Laban sa Pandemya: Kaya!”, March 1, 2021.

Due to Covid 19-related restrictions and health protocols, the five provinces were not able to come together but had their own peculiar ways of joining the festivities to show that even the pandemic couldn’t hamper the treat for women.

Consistent with the theme, the revelry started with a healthy blast. An on-line Zumba exercises spearheaded by the Commission’s Central Office fueled every participant from the regional office and the satellite offices to workout. After the very engaging Zumba exercises, each Province had a chance to host its own get together and showcased its varied expression of support to the Women’s Month.

After the early morning exercises, an online opening ceremony was conducted by the COA Central Office to officially commence the month-long celebration. Commissioner Roland C. Pondoc, Head of the COA Gender and Development (GAD) Focal Point System Executive Committee, gave the opening remarks. He acknowledged “the efforts of Filipino women in attaining freedom and liberty and transformation from the typical Maria Clara to the Juana who is ready to take active roles in different fields of the society, at the same time taking care of their homes as well as being catalysts of change”. He also declared the establishment of the MOVE (Men Opposed to Violence Everywhere) with the purpose of eliminating discrimination against women.

On the same occasion, Hon. Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo gave an inspirational message and discussed the upcoming activities for the month. He proudly acknowledged the majority of the workforce in the commission being women. He also recognized the gradual transition into the digitization of audit activities in order to adapt to the current situation.  “It’s important to make the most of the limitations that we have…to make the most of the blessing of the additional time that we have for our loved ones”, said Chairperson Aguinaldo as his parting words.

As the celebration of the Women’s Month continued, COA Regional Office (RO) No. VI, together with its various Provincial Satellite Offices, embraced the early morning breeze of March 3, 2021 with a “Power Walk” in different venues of the entire region. OIC-Director Merne T. Peñaranda, together with some COA Officials and personnel stationed within the regional center, welcomed the sunrise at the famous Iloilo River Esplanade at around 6 o’clock early in the morning. The COA Iloilo Province audit groups (North and South) headed by Atty. Enrique Jungco and Ma’am Marie Jean Salcedo, respectively, also hustled through the Iloilo Capitol grounds. Also stepping up to the challenge, COA Antique welcomed the day at the San Jose Esplanade. Though taking different routes, the common goal of the audit groups is to form a more healthy and strong COA.

OIC-Director Peñaranda expressed her deep appreciation and pride on how the Provinces went out of their way to make the event more exciting and successful.