By Peter Paul Duran
In the Philippines, we have seen remarkable women leaders who have made significant contributions to the country’s development. The women representatives of the 19th Congress, who hail from Central Luzon and the Cordillera Administrative Region, are a testament to this. They have shown exemplary leadership and dedication in serving their constituents, and championing various advocacies, such as women’s rights, children’s welfare, environmental protection, and indigenous peoples’ rights.
As part of the ongoing Women’s Month celebration, we shine a spotlight on the women representatives of the 19th Congress. In this article, we will focus on the lady legislators from Region 3 and the CAR. These exceptional women have made significant contributions to society and have championed various causes in Congress.
Central Luzon is one of the largest regions in the Philippines, known for its rich history and culture, as well as its thriving industries. The region is composed of seven provinces, namely Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, and Zambales. Meanwhile, the Cordillera Administrative Region is composed of six provinces, namely Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, and Mountain Province.
According to the latest data from the World Bank, the Philippines ranks 16th in the world in terms of women’s representation in national parliaments, with women comprising 28.7% of the lower house and 23.3% of the upper house. While this is an improvement from previous years, there is still much work to be done in promoting gender equality in political representation.
Putting names into these numbers means showcasing the women representatives that have shown exemplary leadership and dedication in serving their constituents.
Geraldine B. Roman, from the First District of Bataan, is the first transgender woman to be elected in the Philippine Congress. Before her stint in politics, she worked as an editor and journalist for various publications. In Congress, she authored bills that promote gender equality and protect the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.
Lorna C. Silverio from the Third District of Bulacan, is an advocate for women’s rights, children’s welfare, and environmental protection. She authored bills that aim to provide better healthcare services and promote sustainable livelihoods for her constituents.
Linabelle Ruth R. Villarica of Bulacan’s Fourth District is a seasoned congresswoman who champions the welfare of farmers and fisherfolk. She authored laws that aim to uplift the lives of her constituents by providing them access to education, healthcare, and other basic services.
Rosanna “Ria” V. Vergara from the Third District of Nueva Ecija, is a lawyer and an advocate for justice and transparency in governance. She authored bills that aim to improve the country’s justice system, promote transparency in government transactions, and provide support for micro, small, and medium enterprises.
Former President of the Philippines and former Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of Pampanga’s Second District. Gloria has authored bills that aim to provide affordable and accessible healthcare services, promote renewable energy, and strengthen the country’s disaster response system. A true champion of the law-making arena, she has steered the country through executive and legislative excellence.
Meanwhile, Anna York P. Bondoc, of the Fourth District of Pampanga is a lawyer who advocates for the welfare of women and children. She authored bills that aim to provide better healthcare services and promote inclusive education for children with special needs.
Florida “Rida” P. Robes from the Lone District of San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan is a businesswoman and an advocate for agriculture and rural development. She authored bills that aim to provide support for farmers and fisherfolk, promote sustainable livelihoods, and protect the environment.
Eleanor C. Bulut-Begtang from the Lone District of Apayao, is the lone congresswoman representing the Cordillera Administrative Region. She authored bills that aim to provide better healthcare services, promote sustainable tourism, and protect indigenous peoples’ rights.
Women’s Month is an opportune time to celebrate the achievements of women in politics, recognize their contributions to society, and advocate for greater gender equality in political representation. The women representatives of the 19th Congress, along with other women leaders, serve as an inspiration to many, especially to women who aspire to become leaders in their respective fields.