Place your bets

ROSES AND THORNS - Pia Roces Morato - The Philippine Star

A few more days before election day and at this point, most of us have chosen our candidates. I for one can’t wait to cast my vote after holding my breath for so long and the excitement is through the roof. Seriously speaking, however, I have for a very long time already decided on my top choices. My very first job in government came not only at an opportune time in my life but also at a time when I was in the middle of a personal crisis.

In those days, and already having been a school teacher in the private sector, crossing over into government opened my eyes to the real world. Having the one facility I shared with former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, that of being able to speak Spanish, I was able to help many public school teachers develop the same facility and, in the end, learners became more equipped as well as competitive in the job market. I learned discipline, fortitude and perseverance in the middle of my own crisis and since then, I was never the same. I learned that I could become more but most of all, I learned that honor and duty were two very important ingredients in the school of life.

While I was fortunate enough to have had opportunities in other agencies of government, what I learned at the time of FPGMA is something I still hold close to my chest to this day, as honor and duty come with your good word. It is not easy to be a tough woman in a man’s world yet, while it is not easy and, in most cases, it has become very empowering to experience that on many occasions, especially the rare and difficult ones, a woman has changed the game many times in this battleground we call politics. I saw this for myself in the leadership of Mayor Inday Sara Duterte of the UniTeam, in all her brave efforts on Peace 911 and how the culture of security must be embraced by all members of society, big or small.

I saw the same determination and dedication in my mayor, Mayor Joy Belmonte, in the most crucial times in this pandemic when that fierce driving force to bring services down to her constituents was, and to this day still is, the force that keeps her focused on her job as not only the chief executive officer of our city but also the mother that worked day and night to make sure everyone was included in the city’s rise and development.

Not too long ago, I also had the opportunity to participate in a party-list that is by women and for women. Angat Pinoy Partylist, together with Governor Anthony Del Rosario of HNP and his wife Aina, the partylist’s first nominee, paved the way, yet again, for me to take part in an advocacy that showed the strength of women even in a crisis. It’s time we all place our bets and certainly, I am placing my bet on all three women who not only have the potential but also the promise of upholding both honor and duty by keeping their word.

When I look back at my life 13 years ago, a struggling single mother of two boys, every aspect of my life in those days changed for the better because of the example I had learned from a woman who deserved not only the respect but, more so, the gratitude from Filipinos as she kept our country afloat as we resisted a crisis. Indeed, legacies are built by the strong and no one is exempt from adversity. We all have a fighter in us and because things must be done, we must do them bravely. I place my bet on the fearless three. I know they will come through just as they promise.


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