Tuesday, October 18, 2011
By Gloria Concepcion Moralidad
Women’s chains have been forged by men, not by anatomy.”
So, goes the maxim of feminist endocrinologist, Dr. Estelle R. Ramey. Women have always been considered as the weaker gender; most people only see the physical and emotional aspect of the female species.
In the past, the character of women in the military was considered highly controversial. Several arguments rose from those who are against seeing women serving in the army: that the skeletal system of women is a lot thinner than men’s, thus, it can be prone to breakages; women are emotional; women have poor strategic planning skills; and can likely be abused.
It is only recently that women are given major roles in the armed forces like assisting under the technical services; nursing the ill and wounded; and aiding in combat. A rising number of countries have begun to develop the role of women in their armies – and the Philippines is no exception.
In a men-dominated organization, one woman braced her way out of the crowd and became the country’s first female army general. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), in its 114 years of history, witnessed Brig. Gen. Ramona Palabrica – Go as the current assistant deputy chief of staff for personnel of the AFP based in Camp Aguinaldo.
There have been female generals in the past but all of them served in the Army as technical nurses. AFP spokesperson Col. Antonio Parlade praised Go stating that she is the first lady general of the Philippine Army who is a regular officer.
Parlade even added that the promotion of Go denotes that the AFP “is empowering women, giving more active role for women in the Armed Forces and in the Philippine Army.”
Go, 54, from San Dionisio, Iloilo, holds a degree on Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Central Philippine University, graduating class of 1977 and a holder of master’s degree on Development Management at the Asian Institute of Management.
After graduating from CPU, she joined the military service through the Women’s Auxiliary Corps. Last September 28, Go was the guest speaker of CPU’s 106th Foundation Day; she said that she joined the forces out of curiosity and have grown to love it! She was then sent to Australia to take up Officer Candidate Course at Women’s Royal Australian Corps School in 1981. A year later, upon her return to the Philippines, Go was commissioned into the service as second lieutenant and was called to active duty. She held key military positions and responsibilities including Platoon Leader of the AFP Women’s Auxiliary corps and Aide-de-camp of the Army commanding general. During her stay in the Army for nearly three decades, Go earned lots of nods counting as well the Outstanding Achievement Medal, military merit medals, and campaign medals.
Other than that, don’t you know that she was the first woman to command a flying unit in the AFP? She took her solo flight on November 1986 on board an Army Cessna 172 Skyhawk trainer plane that took off and landed at Fort Magsaysay Aerodome in Nueva Ecija. Go is also the first female commanding officer of the Aviation Battalion of the Army’s Light Armor Division, which performed operations preceding to actual attacks, and handles rescue efforts, disaster relief, and VIP transport. In 2009, she became the first female line officer to become Adjutant General of the Armed Forces, which assigned to authenticate, publish, distribute and disseminate orders, publications and correspondences.
Truth be told, she’s also a married woman. Go tied the knots with Chinese businessman David Go and has now three teenage kids.
A wife, mother, and a Brigadier General of the Philippines. The test for whether or not you can hold a job should not be the arrangement of your chromosomes – as what American social activist and leader of Women’s Movement, Bella Abzug believed in.
Before, Filipino women were rather somewhat shy, composed, and reserved. Now, the country has been portrayed as a nation of strong, independent females – capable of handling responsibilities and tasks as much as their male counterparts.
“Call it courage, the dedication to serve, and the desire to make a difference. Brig. Gen. Ramona Go entered the profession of arms years ago and proved that in the place of some men, a woman can shine,” Parlade concluded.