This month, Mau­rice Ar­cache enu­mer­ates his list of power women who have made their mark on the coun­try

Philippine Tatler - - CONCIERGE -

I’m sure you know the old say­ing that the hand that rocks the cra­dle is the hand that rules the world. In­deed, there are many women who are mak­ing a dif­fer­ence—and what a dif­fer­ence! One such won­der woman, palang­gas, is my late kababayan Miriam De­fen­sor- San­ti­ago. Eas­ily one of the most con­tro­ver­sial—and cer­tainly most in­tel­li­gent—law­mak­ers, she bravely brought up a num­ber of is­sues and con­tro­ver­sies in a unique and some­what ab­surd style—which I loved. Miriam was the tough-talk­ing, no-non­sense com­mis­sioner of the Bureau of Im­mi­gra­tion— and her mean-girl ap­proach to the job won her the Ra­mon Magsaysay Award for govern­ment ser­vice in 1988. She ran for the pres­i­dency twice, was a sen­a­tor thrice, and had the dis­tinc­tion of be­ing the sen­a­tor who had filed the most bills—what an in­domitable woman!

Cur­rently fight­ing the good fight is Vice-pres­i­dent Leni Gerona-Ro­bredo who is no stranger to ei­ther tragedy or ad­ver­sity. Leni al­ways seems to be caus­ing a stir: she won against the Vil­la­fuertes (Ca­marines Sur’s big­gest po­lit­i­cal clan) in a land­slide vic­tory when she ran for Congress and dove right into work from day one. Even now, dahlings, she’s work­ing so hard to help elim­i­nate poverty and hunger among the masses.

Since we’re talk­ing about po­lit­i­cal doyennes, how can we not talk about the one and only Iron But­ter­fly, Imelda Ro­mualdez-Mar­cos? Whether you love her or hate her, it’s no se­cret that she re­mains one of the most in­flu­en­tial women in the coun­try and is the only politi­cian to have been elected to Congress in three dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions. Madame will al­ways have the dis­tinc­tion of hav­ing been the youngest and most beau­ti­ful First Lady this coun­try has ever had—and —and her name has be­come a by­word for op­u­lence and os­ten­ta­tion both here and abroad.

There’s Glo­ria Ma­ca­pa­gal-Ar­royo, the lit­tle dy­namo who served as our 14th pres­i­dent. As the daugh­ter of a pres­i­dent as well, she cer­tainly knows her way around the po­lit­i­cal arena and has served as con­gress­woman, the first woman to be elected vice-pres­i­dent, and the sec­ond fe­male pres­i­dent of the coun­try. There was a time she was un­der house ar­rest and she had to wear a neck brace for a bit; but she’s bounced back. You can’t put the woman down. Go girl, go!Pol­i­tics isn’t the only place where you can find truly great ladies: they rise to the chal­lenge in board­rooms, too. There’s the bril­liant Tere­sita “Tessie” Sy- Co­son, the vice-chair­per­son of SM In­vest­ments Cor­po­ra­tion (SMIC) and chair­per­son of BDO Uni­bank. It isn’t sur­pris­ing that she’s been re­ceiv­ing cor­po­rate awards all over the place and has made it to For­tune’s For­tune’ an­nual list of the 50 Most Pow­er­ful Women in the World and Forbes Asia’s 50 Power Busi­ness Women. That’s pretty hard to beat, n’est c’est pas? Loida Ni­co­las-Lewis also re­mains a force to be reck­oned with. The Filipino-born widow of the bil­lion­aire Regi­nald Lewis, TLC Beatrice founder and CEO, re­mains ac­tive in po­lit­i­cal causes, co-found­ing the Na­tional Fed­er­a­tion of Filipino-Amer­i­can As­so­ci­a­tions (NaFFAA) in 1997. Even now, she con­tin­ues to em­pha­sise the im­por­tance of jus­tice for veter­ans, and en­cour­ages the youth to fight for their lo­los and lo­las in order to keep their legacy of hero­ism alive. A per­fect ex­am­ple of a truly em­pow­ered woman, dahlings. And let’s also give praise to women’s rights groups like Gabriela who con­tinue to raise aware­ness as to the plight of their less for­tu­nate sis­ters by point­ing out crit­i­cal is­sues such as wel­fare, health­care, and equal­ity in the work­place. After all, as Queen Bey her­self puts it: “Who runs the world? Why, girls, of course!”

EM­POW­ERED FE­MALES (Clock­wise from top, far left) Glo­ria Ma­ca­pa­gal-Ar­royo, Imelda Ro­mualdez-Mar­cos, Leni Gerona-Ro­bredo, Tere­sita “Tessie” Sy-Co­son, Miriam De­fen­sor-San­ti­ago, and Loida Ni­co­las-Lewis

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