Official Publication of the Philippine Information Agency Bicol Regional Office, in cooperation with the RIAC-REDIRAS - RDC Bicol

Thursday, July 7, 2016

US Navy Fil-Am female commander keynotes Pacific Partnership GAD Seminar in Albay

By Sally Atento-Altea

LEGAZPI CITY, July 7 (PIA) – US Navy Rear Admiral Babette “Bette” Bolivar, a Filipina-American commander of the Joint Region Marianas, with his father hailing from Nabua, Camarines Sur is happy and proud to be back in her hometown as part of the Pacific Partnership 2016.

Bolivar keynoted this morning the Gender and Development (GAD) Seminar held today at the conference room of the Bicol Regional Teaching and Training Hospital here which formed part of the activities in the province of Albay for the Pacific Partnership 2016 in terms of development efforts for women in the Philippines and other partner nations.

Bolivar is born in Hawaii and was raised in a traditional Filipino family by his parents Ted Sereno Bolivar from Bicol and Virginia Dolor Bolivar from Pangasinan with his two younger brothers also serving in the US Navy.

"I came from a military family. My father came from here and he was given the chance to serve in the US Navy and I wouldn’t be here without them. The military has given us the opportunity not only to serve our country but also to support our family,” Bolivar said.

She took helm of the US Naval Command, becoming the first female commander of the Navy Region Northwest and the first woman Commander of Joint Region Marianas. As the US Defense Representative for the Marianas Region, she is the highest ranking official in the region, and is also responsible for Guam.  The facility in Guam is the closest US naval base to the Philippines.

Bolivar recounted the challenges she encountered in reaching her current position including gender related concerns which she was able to survive through hard work and support of her family and the people she worked with.

“Where I am now, where my male counterparts are now, I was there because of hard work. It doesn’t have to men or women. Here in the military we’re recognized for what we do, how we work and that’s how we got promoted. It’s not that I’m smarter or better, I’m just blessed to be surrounded with supportive teams and family to get me to where I am now,” she said.

Bolivar also urged her fellow women to be strong and steadfast in reaching their dreams and goals in life citing the importance of goal setting and a supportive family.

“Follow their goals. No goal is unachievable. If there’s something they want in life, keep going on your way up there. Don’t give up. Family support is important, being able to set a goal, stick to it and believe in yourself,” Bolivar said.

Also with Bolivar during the GAD Seminar are Royal New Zealand Navy (RZN) Commander Karen Ward and Royal Australian Air Force Squadron Leader Amanda Norris, who shared the experiences of their country In UN peacekeeping missions as female peacekeepers who comprises at least 3% of the total number of UN peacekeepers of which 97% are males.

They cited the comforting presence of female peacekeepers in countries where women are considered inferior to men with cultures not allowing women or making women uncomfortable in talking with men, including male peacekeepers allowing deeper insights on their vulnerable conditions.

Part of their advocacy is to include more women in peacekeeping missions to empower local women and bring sense of security as they, together with children,  become vulnerable victims of violence, sexual abuse and trafficking specially in times of war and disaster.

Likewise discussed are policies and practices to enforce the Magna Carta of Women in the Philippines by Atty. Arlene Alangco of the Commission of Human Rights, the initiatives of Albay in the implementation of GAD programs by Albay GAD focal person Cynthia Samalea and USAID programs on gender equality and women empowerment in the country by USAID GAD specialist in the Philippines Bernadette Cariaga.(MAL/SAA-PIA5/Albay)


- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/2571467881528/us-navy-fil-am-female-commander-keynotes-pacific-partnership-gad-seminar-in-albay#sthash.hHlXe0s2.dpuf

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