When one turns on the television, reads the newspaper or listens to the news on radio, one cannot help but notice that much of the news is focused on the negative events that are happening to our country. Thus, it wouldn’t be a surprise if many Filipinos have already made a conclusion that we no longer have government leaders who are committed to promoting good governance and leadership with integrity in our country. Fortunately, we still have many local government leaders who are doing their own share to create a better society for every Filipino. Here are a few good and inspiring women leaders in Philippine politics whom you may only be hearing of now.
Shirlyn Macasarte-Villanueva, Board Member, Province of Cotabato
A survivor of an ambush that left 10 bullet splinters near her spinal cord, head, feet and other parts of the body, this 3-term senior board member of the province of Cotabato is best known for her advocacies in ensuring access to quality education and healthcare for her constituents.
During her first term, Macasarte-Villanueva headed the committee that passed the Child and Youth Welfare and Development Code. Not depending on consultancy firms, she practiced what participatory governance means by conducting a summit instead to hear the concerns and issues of the child and youth sector firsthand. She also authored the Magtutuldo sa Barangay (Teachers in Barangay), where they hired 300 teachers to reach the remote areas where no one teaches.
As a professional nurse, she also ensured that the health sector would not be neglected. She crafted the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Cotabato Health Code, and crafted the Manual of Hospital for North Cotabato. She also helped launch the Cotabato Health Insurance System, a program on top of PhilHealth, to further help their people burdened by expensive hospital bills. Likewise, she also started the Saklay: Punla ng Pag-asa Para sa Parehong Karapatan, Kakayahan at Pagkakataon to give support to differently-abled people through distribution of mobility devices to indigent PWDs, providing training for their proper care, technical, and funding assistance for livelihood program according to their capabilities.
Given what she has done for her constituents for the last 5 years since her unfortunate ambush by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Macasarte-Villanueva is clearly making the most out of this second chance in life that was given to her.
Mabel Sunga-Acosta, Councilor, Davao City
A known advocate and champion of education in Davao City, Mabel Sunga-Acosta was awarded as one of the top councilors in the country in 2009. Unlike many other local government leaders, Sunga-Acosta didn’t come from a political family but mostly from a clan of educators thus her interest to ensure that every child in Davao City would learn how to read.
Acosta reached out to as many sectors in Davao City as possible—men, women, young, and old—and brought them all together through a reading and storytelling project in the park dubbed, “Love Ko ang Libro: a Happy Reader, Future Leader Campaign.” In this project, anyone can borrow a book and read in the park. It was quite reminiscent, too, of the Greek agora or the Roman forum, those open gathering places where everyone is given an equal opportunity to hear and be heard. The free venue was chosen with the ordinary Filipino families' budget as a major consideration, and also the unhurried and fun way to read and learn that the garden setting provides. Aside from this, she also authored ordinances for the Davao Museum, its establishment, site, and its funding provisions, encouraging the preservation and promotion of the rich culture of Davao City in the heart of Mindanao.
With her outstanding achievements and solid track record in public service, it comes as no surprise that she always comes out as the number one councilor in her district during elections.
Gloria Crespo Congco, Mayor, Municipality of Cabiao, Nueva Ecija
In a province that is traditionally dominated by male leaders, this 5-term Mayor of one of the biggest municipalities in the province has shown that most of the time it takes a good woman to do what a man cannot accomplish. Given its limited budget, Congco is known in local government circles as being one of the most resourceful Mayors having been able to tap private sector partners such as Gawad Kalinga, St. Luke’s Medical Center, Ateneo de Manila University, AHON Foundation and Security Bank to help address the needs of her constituents.
Under her tireless leadership, Congco through her partnership with Gawad Kalinga has now provided homes to more than 100 indigent families in her municipality. Before her municipal health unit tragically burned down, doctors from St. Luke’s Medical Center would often go to Cabiao to conduct free health check ups to her constituents. In the field of education, Congco boasts of having a solid partnership with the Ateneo Center for Educational Development (ACED) that provides training and development to her public school teachers and principals. Aside from this, Congco established a partnership with the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) to run a satellite campus in her province. This satellite campus that has been running for less than 5 years recently produced board passers in the recent licensure exam for teachers.
What she has done in Cabiao, Nueva Ecija has shown that having limited resources or funds should never be a deterrent to one’s determination to provide public public service to one’s constituency.
*Some excerpts of this article were taken from the book, The Kaya Natin! Champions: Inspiring Stories of Good Governance and Ethical Leadership. The book was edited by Karla Pastores-Keh and Shylynne Castillo. To learn more about Kaya Natin! and how one can be part of the movement, you can contact Sarah Gellor or Maris Cortes at (02) 256-1446.
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.
Section Main Story,good governance,politics,women,Davao City,Nueva Ecija,Cotabato City,Kaya Natin,Opinions,blog roll,nation