Ms. Shirley I. Barcenas, a 57-year-old woman with innovative practices and technologies championing skills and knowledge, is a dedicated women leader of Candabong Rural Improvement Club (RIC) Multipurpose Cooperative situated at Barangay Candabong, Loboc, Bohol. Through her strong leadership and commitment,  the organization has an existing Loboc Salabat Processing unit assisted by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) known to the market, locally and internationally.

Barcenas is also the Gender-And-Development (GAD) Committee Chair of the organization who envisioned for something better and best for its members. A very active woman who collaborated with various government agencies to acquire livelihood and income-generating programs in providing economic upliftment of the members through employment. Its members regardless of gender are involved into Salabat processing and the husbands are involved in Turmeric and Ginger “Luy-a” Production. She instilled that men and women are equal in terms of employment in the organization.

About one (1) hectare of raw materials for Turmeric and Ginger were established to sustain the production of Loboc Salabat. Moreover, individual family members are given opportunities and are encourage to plant ginger and turmeric in their own backyards with corresponding incentive, and the association agreed to buy their produce. Currently, the organization has 114 active members and is registered to the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA). About 65% of the members of the association are women and are engaged into livelihood and greening projects.

Barcenas as a leader brought this marginalized women group meet women’s needs and promote gender equality. These women also worked closely in conserving and protecting the environment through the implementation of the Enhanced National Greening Program (ENGP) with existing contract on the maintenance and protection of the 80-hectare Rattan Plantation established on FY 2022.

As women plays an important role in the activities for ENGP, they are involved in the nursery establishment, production of planting materials for rattan as well as maintenance and protection activities to sustain the established plantation.