In celebration of International Women’s Month, The Cavite Rising listed five of the most inspiring women who have made a mark in Philippine government. These women have defied the odds and overcome obstacles in the name of true public service.
Leni Robredo is a lawyer, social activist, and former vice president of the Philippines. Long before she joined the political scene, she has already been an advocate for various causes, such as education, women’s rights, and poverty alleviation. She first became involved in public service as a pro-bono lawyer for marginalized communities. As the country’s second-highest official, Robredo’s term was marked by her tireless efforts to uplift the oppressed and promote transparency in government. In 2022, she brought this brand of public service when she ran for president and led the opposition carrying the slogan “Sa gobyernong tapat, angat buhay lahat!”.
Risa Hontiveros is a senator in the Philippines. She has been a prominent voice in advocating for the rights of women and the LGBTQ+ community. Hontiveros is also a champion for healthcare, education, and social justice. Before becoming a senator, she was a human rights activist, a journalist, and a health advocate. Hontiveros’ advocacy work includes pushing for the passage of the SOGIE anti-discrimination bill which has met opposition from various religious groups. She also played a crucial role in helping the Reproductive Health Bill pass into law, which aims to provide Filipinos with access to reproductive health services and information.
Conchita Carpio-Morales is a lawyer, a retired Supreme Court Associate Justice, and a former Ombudsman of the Philippines. She has been an advocate for good governance and transparency in government, holding erring government officials accountable. Morales is best known for leading the investigation into the pork barrel scam, a large-scale corruption scandal involving government officials and the misuse of public funds. Under her leadership, the Ombudsman was able to file charges against high-profile politicians and government officials. Morales’ efforts were recognized when she received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service in 2016.
Gina Lopez was an environmental activist and a former Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. She was known for her staunch advocacy for environmental protection and social justice. Lopez was instrumental in leading the crackdown on mining companies that violated environmental laws. Her work also included advocating for the rights of indigenous peoples and promoting sustainable development. After her passing in 2019 at the age of 65, Lopez’s legacy continues to inspire environmental activists in the Philippines and around the world.
Miriam Defensor Santiago
Miriam Defensor Santiago was a lawyer, professor, and former senator in the Philippines. She was known for her sharp wit, intelligence, and strong personality. Dubbed the “Iron Lady of Asia,” Santiago was famous for declaring war against corruption and championing human rights and good governance. She was also the first Filipino and Asian to be elected as a judge of the International Criminal Court. Although she died in 2016 after a long battle with lung cancer, her contributions to Philippine politics and the legal profession continue to serve as an inspiration for generations of Filipinos.
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