A heritage of political involvement | Inquirer News

A heritage of political involvement

/ 07:23 AM May 19, 2013

It was heartening to observe young females involved with Vote Good. Females did not get the right to vote or be elected automatically; they had to fight for it.

Phoebe Zoe Marie F. Umbay in her study on the education and status of women under Spanish and American rule informs us that a publication in 1930 revealed that voting by women was frowned upon and believed to “cause disgrace to the household.” But in a debate Jesus M. Cuenco declared that the woman’s loving heart can clean up governance.


Leaders of the local suffragette movement cited by the research were Doña Virgilia Ramos, Doña Felicidad Climaco, and Dr. Ines Suico Villa. Doña Virgilia Ramos, an alumna of Colegio de la Inmaculada Concepcion worked as a librarian in Cebu High. But she organized a small museum in her home so young Sugbuanons could appreciate their cultural heritage. Doña Felicidad Climaco delivered speeches on women’s right to vote and expressed opposition to oppressive colonial laws.

Dr. Ines Suico Villa was a graduate of Colegio de la Inmaculada Concepcion and UP Cebu Junior College. With a doctorate in education from Fordham University and a doctorate in sociology from Universidad de Madrid she was not only a woman’s suffrage advocate, but also a journalist, educator, and social worker. In 1968, she wrote PhiIippine Epic of Democracy “to present in true light the vibrant hymn of nation’s evolution aspiring for a righteous living and building constructive ideas and goals that create a sound Christian Democracy”.


Now Cebu has chosen Agnes Almendras-Magpale an authentic woman’s advocate. Early in her leadership she proposed family tours as an alternative to sex tourism. The Cebuana Trailblazers Heritage Cards declares: “a very significant accomplishment is her promotion of the Women’s Development Code and the Comprehensive Children and Family Support System in the province of Cebu”. Recently, she leads an anti-trafficking in persons task force.

But as enlightened folk have pointed out politics, political education, and political involvement is not only about voting and elections. Here we have role models for our young females:  Marilu Briones Chiongbian; Sr. Maria Belen E. Alcoseba, ICM; and Felisa Uy Etemadi.

Marilu Briones Chiongbian has been “wisely guiding Cebu Citizens Involvement and Maturation in People’s Empowerment and Liberation (C-CIMPEL) since 1992. The group’s “mission is to bring forth political transformation rooted in   faith, justice and love”. So the members engaged in political education and “participative development planning in the barangays.”

Sr. Maria Belen organized Pundok Higalang Kababayn-an “not only for women’s welfare but also to be a catalyst for community upliftment in Balamban. Now, the group has been actively motivating “local officials to use both power and resources to actually serve the people”.

Felisa U. Etemadi has just published: People Participation in Urban Governance in Cebu. Resil Mojares has this to say about the author and the publication: “If urban governance in contemporary Cebu City is one of the best documented in the country, much of the credit goes to Etemadi. The virtue of process documentation lies in the dynamic detail with which an ongoing social process is observed and recorded—and the value this has as guide for understanding how a process has evolved, and how for the greater good, it should evolve.”

In the publication, she is also described: “Through action researches and her pro bono technical assistance to non-government organizations, government organizations, people organizations and other civil society groups in Cebu, Etemadi exemplifies how the academe can link up with the larger society to bring about societal change and make a difference in the lives of the people.”

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We begin to invite you to come to UP Cebu Campus for Gabii sa Kabilin. We hope you will enjoy going around the campus and finding out about how the UP story is intertwined with the history of the nation. UP Serenata will remind you about our rich heritage of Cebuano songs. A painting exhibit, short films, and many more await heritage enthusiasts.

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TAGS: Election, vote, Women
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