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Manila - The Institute for Labor Studies’ Gender and Development (GAD) Committee’s month-long activities, in celebration of the International Women’s Month culminated with a special online film screening and talk back session of the award-winning film “Liway” last March 23.

The event, which was hosted by GAD Members Cesar A. Mansal and Athena Marie E. Son, began with an opening message from ILS Executive Director Ahmma Charisma Lobrin Satumba. Director Satumba lauded the ILS’ commitment to actual and continuous implementation of programs and projects focused on gender advocacy and commitment to women's empowerment, coupled with its transparent utilization of the GAD budget.

This was followed by an audio-visual presentation of the ILS GAD activities since 2017 titled, “We Make Change Work for Women,” prior to a short introduction of the film.

Set during the waning days of Martial Law, “Liway” is a true story of a young mother who uses storytelling to protect her child from the reality of growing up in prison and the difficult life she endured. Highlighting themes of familial love and women empowerment, this independent film was part of the 14th Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival and won the Special Jury Commendation and the Audience Choice Award in the full-length feature film category.

What made the screening more special was a talkback session with the person behind the  film’s central character: Ms. Cecilia Flores-Oebanda, President of the Voice of the Free. Ms. Oebanda spoke candidly at length about the struggles that she experienced and the strength it took to ensure the welfare of her child.

“Seeing and recalling what I went through as a mother in prison during Martial Law was very hard. But I knew this story had to be told because there are lot of women, and men, who can relate to what I have experience: the struggles of raising a child during a very oppressive time in our history.”

During the talkback session with Ms. Oebanda, members of the ILS shared their key insights on the film, thoughts and positive actions on women’s struggles, highlighting women empowerment, and the adverse impact of historical revisionism.

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