Geronima Tomeldon Pecson
Geronima Tomelden Pecson was the first woman senator of the Philippines who was also an educator, social worker, a well-known suffragette and international figure.
She was born in December 19,1896 to Victore Tomeldon and Paz Palisoc in the bario of Libsong Lingayen, Pangasinan. Second child of eleven children and married in 1920 to Potenciano Pecson. A graduate of the prestigious University of the Phils. with high honors with a degree in Education. She also turned her attention to doing Social Work which enabled her to help countless of school teachers that were afflicted by tuberculosis. She established a teachers pavilion in the Quezon Institute where the sick teachers could be given the care they deserve. She also taught in the Far Eastern University and Centro Escolar University at the same time playing the role of a congressman's wife earning her the honor or "super social worker" because of her involvement in various organizations such as the white Cross,Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts,the National Federation of Women's Club, the YMCA, the Red Cross, the St.Luke's fund raising group and other social work. In 1941 she was able to rest from these activities when she stayed with her husband in Zamboanga, but still kept her self busy by joining the faculty of Zamboanga Normal School.
As a senator, she chaired three committees of Education, Health and Public Welfare, and the Congressional Committee on Education. She was also a member of two powerful groups: the Commission Appointments and the Senate Electoral Tribunal.
She taught at the Manila High School and became the principal of the Sta. Clara Primary School (now the Gomez Elementary School). An active in the National Federation of Women's Clubs, the YWCA, the Red Cross, the White Cross, the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts, the St. Luke's Fund-raising group, and other social welfare activities, she was known as a "super-social worker".
She was caught in the war there and gave her services to help Manuel Roxas held captive by the Japanese. This eventually landed her as private secretary to President Laurel and in 1946 became the Assistant Executive Secretary for President Manuel Roxas which enabled her to serve her countrymen even better. Her international fame was when she involved in the creation of the UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines, she was the first woman elected to its Executive Board and she also served as its chairman. She also started the foundation of several civic and professional associations, such as the Akademiya ng Wikang Pambansa and the Philippine Association for the Advancement of Literacy.
Her many achievements earned her several honors, among these are the Presidential medals and citations for "educational statesmanship through legislation", the League of Women Voters Awards, the National Federation of Women's Clubs Award as Citizen of the Year, the Philippine Legion of Honor for distinguished service during the war, and the Pro Patria Presidential Award.
- de Guzman,Jovita V.,Vicente A. Santiago,Remedios T. de Leon and Teresita E. Erestain. Women Of Distinction; Biographical Essays on Outstanding Filipino Women of the Past and the Present. Philippines: Bukang Liwayway, 1967
- Human Development Sector. Sulong Pilipina! Sulong Pilipinas! A Compilation of Filipino Women Centennial Awardees. National Centennial Commission -Women's Sector. Taft Avenue, Manila:1999.
- "Geronima T. Pecson." Senate. http://www.senate.gov.ph/senators/former_senators/geronima_pecson.htm (accessed on 7 March 2008)