(A New Year’s Message from the PWJA President)
It is true that the year 2020 has brought untold misery and suffering – for some people more than others. It has tested our resilience in ways we never imagined possible. But I would rather focus on the many reasons to be thankful for the year that passed.
First. The PWJA successfully held its 25th Annual Convention/Seminar right before the pandemic hit us, and strict quarantine measures forced us all to stay home. With the advances in technology, we can look forward to a virtual convention in 2021 where we can expect a greater number of women judges to actively participate. But we are also hopeful that we can hold a face-to-face convention perhaps in the middle of next year, as soon as the coronavirus vaccine shall have been successfully rolled out.
Second. Throughout this quarantine period, the PWJA officers and directors continued to meet regularly, albeit virtually, to provide support and assistance to our members in need, especially those affected by calamities. Donations that your officers were able to pool together helped sustain our members and personnel whose homes and offices were ravished by typhoons Rolly and Ulysses. While the pandemic may have restricted our physical movements, our hands refused to be shackled; and the PWJA was able to reach out to those who needed help the most.
Third. The PWJA concluded an agreement with Kaiser International Healthgroup Inc. to provide health coverage to our members and their dependents, which benefit was extended to some male judges and court employees, as well as their respective dependents. With the health crisis that we are all facing, the assurance of receiving medical care without straining our finances certainly brings a lot of comfort.
Truly, God has sustained us throughout this difficult time, allowing PWJA these significant achievements, and then favoring us individually to spend precious moments with our family and enjoy simple pleasures without sacrificing our judicial work.
So now, let us welcome the new year with renewed hope, bearing in mind that, just as God’s kindness and faithfulness saw us through the worst of this pandemic, so shall we rise in triumph over challenges of the coming year. I am certain that with God’s ever present help, there is no problem we cannot surmount. Let us claim victory for year 2021!
ESTELA M. PERLAS-BERNABE
Senior Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the Philippines
President, Philippine Women Judges Association