Since 2010, CHED has been pushing for the agenda to mainstream gender and development in higher education. It has issued several landmark policy statements and documents, the most prominent of which is CHED Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 01, series of 2015 or the “Establishing the Policies and Guidelines on Gender and Development in CHED and HEIs.”

To fulfill CHED mandate in providing Gender and Development (GAD) related activities, even in times of COVID-19 pandemic, GAD Council in PSU Bayambang held its GAD webinar entitled “Orientation on Basic Gender and Development Concepts which was funded by the University last November 25, 2021. This was held via MS Teams platform. It aims to provide members of PSU Bayambang GAD council, the freshmen students, as well as the teaching and non-teaching staff the opportunity to be leveled off on GAD-related basic concepts. Creating a historic milestone, a total of 667 participants attended and took part in the aforementioned GAD webinar session.

To increase the awareness and understanding of the participants on the difference between sex, gender roles, gender equality, and equity, and gender mainstreaming were the highlights of the webinar. The GAD council believe that these fundamental GAD concepts are best instilled at a young age by caring families, supportive schools, and a society that feels a strong sense of responsibility for educating and nurturing our young people to be knowledgeable, motivated, and prepared to take part in the preservation and betterment of the societies in which they will take part.

The webinar was divided into two sessions—morning and afternoon session comprising four significant GAD topics to be delivered by four remarkable resource speakers from different offices. It was organized by the PSU GAD council members spearheaded by the very able Bayambang Campus GAD Coordinator, Dr. Maria Berenice Glizzle M. Catabay. To maintain decorum, house rules were presented and discussed beforehand. The webinar then jumpstarted with a felicitous topic delivered by our first resource speaker Mr. Christian A. Gamo, the chairperson of the Public Administration

Department at PSU Bayambang. In his discussion, he mentioned that to achieve gender equality, there is a must to know the basics. He described the basic gender-related concepts and identify how social institutions contribute to the perpetuation of gender issues/biases. Subsequently, an open forum took place. Participants, particularly the students were given the chance to raise their questions, share their insights, or provide comments relevant to the topic that was discussed by the first speaker. Thenceforth, the next resource speaker in the person of Dr. Cheryl C. Mendoza took over to discuss her topic entitled “Sex and Gender Roles”.

Dr. Cheryl C. Mendoza, the chairperson of the Social Science Department, PSU Bayambang delivered her topic judiciously. She made the participants (especially our students who are members of the LGBTQ+ community) feel that they belong, that they are accepted, that they are respected, and that they are loved. It was indeed an amazing and lively discussion since the students actively participated by asking relevant questions as well as by sharing their thoughts or insights on the topic. With that, we are certain that this topic genuinely opened the young minds and widened the horizons of our young participants.

The first resource speaker for the afternoon session is a faculty member of the Public Administration Department, this was no other than Mr. Jeffrey A. De Asis, who is also a member of the GAD council at PSU Bayambang. His topic focused on “Gender Fair Language” wherein he unfolded that it aimed to reduce gender stereotyping and discrimination. He focused on Gender-neutral language or gender-inclusive language that avoids bias towards a particular sex or social gender. This includes the use of nouns that are not gender-specific to refer to roles or professions, the formation of phrases in a coequal manner, and discontinuing the blanket use of male terms. As expected, the webinar attendees actively participated in the abovementioned discussion. It was gain, a fruitful webinar topic.

The topic entitled “Committee on Decorum and Investigation” completed the four germane GAD topics for this webinar. This was presented by our very own University GAD Director, Dr. Gilbert P. Moralista. His topic highlighted the definition and the functions of CODI, some of these functions include: 1) to receive complaints of sexual harassment; 2) Investigate sexual harassment complaints in accordance with the prescribed procedure; 3) Submit a report of its findings with the corresponding recommendation to the disciplining authority for decision; and 4)Lead in the conduct of discussions about sexual harassment within the office to increase understanding and prevent the incident of sexual harassment. The person liable for sexual harassment, and the standard procedural requirements in handling a sexual harassment case were also incorporated in the presented topic. Once more, this topic indeed enlightened our participants as it gives them not just the idea but a certain knowledge about CODI.

Afterward, Certificates of Recognition were virtually awarded to our four resource speakers in acknowledgment of their invaluable services rendered in full realization of this webinar. To secure an E-Certificate, a link for evaluation was also disseminated to the participants. The GAD webinar ended with grateful messages from the participants. Upon seeing, reading, hearing all the positive comments and appreciative messages from the participants, we can say that undeniably, this webinar served its purpose.

As the government continues to adjust to the new normal, the PSU Bayambang GAD council will surely continue to organize and offer GAD-related webinars. Zoom or MS Teams will still be used as the online platform for the conduct of GAD webinars.//