Brookes Point Mayor Mary Jean Feliciano was one of the five finalists among 35 nominees in the recently concluded 2nd Lorenzo Award for Women in Leadership and Good Governance held Tuesday, October 4 in San Juan City, Metro Manila.
Already on its second year, the awarding body started with an initial list of 50 female mayors from various towns of the country, reducing it first to 30 before selecting the five finalists for the award including Feliciano.
“I am flattered and blessed. Kasi ‘yung mapabilang ka doon sa mga mahusay, honest, and empowering na babaeng leaders sa buong Pilipinas very important sa akin. Kasi kahit papaano pala, meron pa ding nagre-recognize sa mga politikong ginagawa ‘yung mabuti at tama,” Feliciano said.
The selection was based on the following criteria: Leadership Experience (25%), Community Service (25%), Good Governance Promotion (25%), and Women Empowerment (25%).
Feliciano and the other finalists were selected by a panel composed of government officials, public servants, lawyers and representatives from the private sector.
San Felipe, Zambales mayor Carolyn Farinas garnered the top award.
Feliciano was nominated by the Department of Health (DOH) provincial office, recognizing her efforts in addressing health problems in her municipality such as malnutrition, the growing rate of infant and maternal deaths concerning the municipality especially those living in far-flung mountainous sitios that are having difficulties on delivering mothers to birthing facilities.
“Noon kasi mataas masyado ‘yung maternal death, malnutrition, infant deaths, saka problema din namin ‘yung delivery sa birthing facility,” Feliciano said.
“Ang ginagawa namin para ma-encourage ‘yung mga mothers na mag pre-natal, binibigyan naming sila ng Philhealth for free. Pag nanganak na sila sa birthing facility, meron silang matatanggap na gift pack. Libre ang panganganak, may matatanggap pa silang regalo,” she added.
Feliciano also said that when they started this strategy, the maternal and infant deaths within the municipality gradually decreased. She also added that the local government unit (LGU) constructed hanging bridges in far-flung communities for the people to have an easy access in delivering mothers who’s about to give birth into local proper facilities.
“Ginawan din namin ng hanging bridges ‘yung mga isolated areas para kung sakaling may bagyo o baha, hindi na sila helpless kasi kumbaga may access na. Puwede na silang kunin doon or puwede na silang pumunta ng hospitals,” said Feliciano.
According to the website of Kaya Natin Movement, the Sonia R. Lorenzo Award for Women in Leadership and Good Governance was launched in July 20, 2016 by the University of Santo Tomas and Kaya Natin Movement, a measure initiated by Harvey Keh of the Ateneo de Manila University- School of Government, late Naga city mayor Jesse Robreso, Isabela Governor Grace Padaca and Pampanga Governor Ed Panlilio in Club Filipino on June 10, 2008.
The award was named after the former San Isidro, Nueve Ecija mayor Sonia R. Lorenzo, who is known for her exemplary and ethical leadership turning her impoverished fifth class municipality to a budding second class town. She has also implemented various reforms and programs in order to establish better lives for her people.
Sonia R. Lorenzo Award for Women in Leadership and Good Governance is an award recognizing women leaders in the local government who exemplify effective, empowering, and ethical leadership, similar to the values and principles of the late Lorenzo.