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A woman can take part in a man’s domain.

Compostela Valley 1st District Representative Maria Carmen Zamora-Mabanglo extended this message to all Filipino women as she recently donned the rank as Lieutenant Colonel, reservist of the Philippine Army, and took an oath to get actively involved in national security.

In her speech during the ceremonial donning of rank officiated by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Zamora cited the occasion as “very significant” to happen in March, Women’s Month, to bring home the message that “very woman can do their role in issues like national security”.

“After all, national security is not just a military dimension. It is political economic, socio-cultural, techno- scientific and environmental and in any of these dimensions, every woman like me can be part of national security,” she addressed the crowd of men in uniform who attended the event held at the Pavilion of Davao del Norte Sports and Tourism Complex in Mankilam, Tagum City.

She recalled how she had evolved from a youth leader whose concern dwelt only on games to become a legislator who took maternal and childcare as her primary concern. She wanted to level up her role to national security which she once thought as a dimension of service “just for men in uniform”.

“As I evolved as a woman, I took the challenge of taking part in your field, proving that a woman can actually be part on issues like national security,” she said and got applauded by military and local government officials present.

She could have chosen the easy path towards acquiring the degree of Masters in National Security Administration from the National Defense College of the Philippines but she took “the road less traveled,” given the inspiration of colleagues in Congress.

Last year, she went through the regular course of studying at the Defense College. She went to school from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and rushed to Congress at 4:00 p.m. to attend sessions. She passed through the rigors of a military training, and experienced a mock armed encounters with colleague Deputy Speaker Mercedes Alvarez among those her supposed enemies.

She had the opportunity to visit some provinces in Central Command of the Armed Forces, stretched her travel to Pag-asa Island and went to Italy to present studies on national defense. “It was not easy,” she said.

She thanked the Department of National Defense for granting her scholarship for Masters in National Security Administration and cited Secretary Lorenzana’s presence during her donning of rank as a reminder that “every civilian can take part in national security”.

“This is not just a field of men in uniform. We can do our part. We have options how we can contribute,” she said. (PIA XI/ Jeanevive Duron Abangan)

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