MANILA, MARCH 8, 2008 (MALAYA) BY REGINA BENGCO - ‘Hataw’ is GMA answer.

PRESIDENT Arroyo yesterday launched two technology-based programs that seek to turn them into entrepreneurs.

The programs, which are called "HATAW" (Harnessing Appropriate Technology to Assist Women) and "POWER" (Projects for Women Entrepreneurs), were launched during the celebration of the International Women’s Day in Malacañang.

Arroyo said "HATAW" seeks to solve community problems through technology while "POWER" seeks to remedy the lack of economic opportunities for women. She said "POWER" will provide bridge financing to fund business ventures.

She said some possible "HATAW" projects are harvesting janitor fish for fuel, tapping safe biotechnology practices to boost production, and developing virgin coconut oil to make it as popular as olive oil.

She said the prospective "POWER" projects include the Botika ng Barangay and Tindahan Natin.

The President ordered Social Welfare Secretary Esperanza Cabral, Science Secretary Estrella Alabastro, and presidential management staff chief Cerge Remonde to set aside funds for the two programs.

She said the funds would be taken from the P50 billion loan facility for micro-, small- and medium enterprises, the P34 million budget for microfinance under the social welfare department, and P380 million from the science department.

"Neither HATAW nor POWER is a handout but each is a hand up, to give a woman the right break so she can go as far and as fast as her talent can bring her," Arroyo said.

Arroyo also said the Philippines will host this year’s International Conference on Gender, Migration and Development: Seizing Opportunities, Upholding Women Migrant Workers’ Rights" that will tackle the impact of migration on developing countries and the new issue of "feminization of migration."

The conference will be held September 25-26 in Manila and the Philippines will be assisted in hosting it by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), United Nations Fund for Children, International Labor Organization, and the Migrants Forum for Asia, a non-government organization.

She said the Philippines is an appropriate venue for the conference because it ranked sixth in the world in terms of closing the gender gap. The other five countries are Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and New Zealand.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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