By Cesaree Caperare and Halyn Gamboa

Last 12 October 2021, DOST-CALABARZON conducted its free webinars titled “Understanding Basic GAD Concepts” and the “Mental Health Awareness during the Pandemic” that garnered a total of 222 Zoom participants and almost 3,000 Facebook Live audiences. This event was part of DOST-CALABARZON’s culminating activities for this year’s Regional Science and Technology Week (RSTW) from 11-13 October 2021. 

On Basic GAD Concepts

Ms. Emelita P. Bagsit, DOST-CALABARZON’s newly appointed Regional Director, formally opened the event by expressing her intentions of “creating a more conducive and inclusive environment for everyone”. 

“DOST-CALABARZON continues to work towards mainstreaming and integrating GAD in all of our programs and services to ensure that both men and women can participate in and benefit from them,” RD Bagsit further emphasized. 

The morning session centered on a decades-old crusade in creating a harmonious workplace through the recognition of the nuances across the gender spectrum, perpetuation of equal treatment, fair access to resources, and practice of gender blind rights.

Ms. Maria Fe B. Singson, Supervising Science Research Specialist and GAD Regional Support Service of DOST, tackled the basics of Gender and Development (GAD) in terms of its legal and practical aspects. She also commented on Ms. Bagsit’s recent promotion. 

Ms. Singson exclaimed, “I’m happy to know about it! Nag-increase ang number ng women leaders, another GAD Champion in the Regional Office!” She also pointed out that this was proof of GAD programs being accepted and realized.

Data from the Global Gender Gap Index suggests that a part of the nation’s human resources is being wasted due to gender inequality and discrimination. She pointed out that making the bureaucracy work for women empowerment and gender equality has been a long and challenging task that is worthy of the government’s efforts. Her lecture revolved around opening up to new ideologies and breaking the status quo.

She pointed out that culture is fluid and that time is changing. “We have to be open to allow ourselves to learn from the experience. That’s the only time that we will appreciate the importance of collective effort on inclusivity.”

On Mental Health Awareness

Mental Health Awareness is an essential topic that sadly most people tend to cast into the shadows, which is why the afternoon webinar was just as compelling and relatable especially during this time. Delivered by Mr. Ronnel John E. Tarcilo, RPm, Provincial Coordinator of Laguna for the Psychological Association of the Philippines, the whole webinar tackled how stress, anxiety, and other negative mental health triggering factors are heightened because of the COVID-19 Pandemic. According to Mr. Tarcilo, while face masks are used to prevent getting infected, unfortunately, there is “No MASK for Mental Health”. 

Tarcilo also cautioned that self-diagnosis and self-medication are not the ways to wellness, instead, opening up and resorting to professional help is. 

While most people are trapped in their current situations, it is encouraged to find light from within and translate helplessness into an opportunity towards self-love. Ranging from trying new things, meditation, use of calming essential oils, to massage techniques, and hotline numbers for institutions catering to psychological and psychiatric needs and services, Tarcilo is all about extending all the help she can give. 

With encouraging words she ended, “We will be facing a lot of challenges and defeats in our life, but never let ourselves be defeated. Keep going mga beshies!”


DOST-CALABARZON’s OIC-Assistant Regional Director for Technical Operations, Engr. Francisco R. Barquilla III closed the event by expressing his gratitude towards the resource speakers and participants. 

He recognized how timely and relevant these topics are and even considered integrating some of the suggested practices into the DOST-CALABARZON’s system in bettering management of its human resource. With hopeful words, he ended, “Keep and restore a positive mind; be hopeful enough and have faith that this pandemic will end very soon.”