|Maria Gracia Cielo Magno Padaca|
|Born|| October 25, 1963|
|Other Name/s||Grace Padaca, Bombo Grace|
Maria Gracia Cielo Magno Padaca is a former governor of Isabela province and the newly appointed Commission on Elections Commissioner. She was a popular radio broadcaster with the nickname "Bombo Grace". In 2008, she was a recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service. She is well known for having succeeded in the face of physical disabilities which require her to use crutches to walk.
Early life and career
Padaca was born on 25 October 1963. As a child, she suffered from polio that affected her legs; to this day, she walks with crutches. She graduated magna cum laude from Lyceum of the Philippines in 1984, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, majoring in Accountancy.
Padaca passed the 1985 CPA Board Examinations with an 81.29 % rating, becoming a Certified Public Accountant. She took an accounting job at Bombo Radyo Pilipinas in Cauayan, Isabela. Later on, she became a broadcaster at the station, earning the nickname "Bombo Grace".
On 1 December 1999, she was temporarily appointed to the Regional and Overseas Coordinating Office under the Office of the Chairman by then Chairman Celso Gangan. From 16 February 2000 to March 2001, she served as state auditor of the Commission of Audit (COA) assigned at the GSIS-Cauayan, Isabela.
In 2001, Padaca chose to resign from her job to run for Congress, with little money and no political base. However, her opponent, Faustino "Bojie" Dy III, won the position by 48 votes. She ran again in the 2004 elections as governor for Isabela. Her opponent, Faustino Dy Jr., is the brother of her former political rival. Padaca won the election with over 44,000 votes.
During her first term as governor, she paid off two-thirds of the province's huge debt and restored its fiscal credibility. She launched a program to subsidize rice and corn farmers. This program was able to yield fresh funds for new infrastructure, better medical coverage for more beneficiaries and a boom for the province's farmers and agri-business sector.
In addition, she increased the budget for education and reforestation, and made inroads against illegal logging and gambling. She also instituted a regular "People's Ugnayan" to keep apprised of all goings-on in her 36-town province.
After a three-year term as governor, she ran again in 2007 and won. For this term, micro-enterprise development was one of her major projects. She also planned to fully implement the PhilHealth program of the government, with the provincial government guaranteeing the payment of premiums to PhilHealth. She promised to intensify her farming subsidy program and to strengthen the free basic education guaranteed by the government. Moreover, she expressed support for the Church’s anti-jueteng position.
- Anchorperson of the Year by Bombo Radyo (1993)
- Nominated for the Ten Outstanding Young Men/Women (TOYM) Award (1992, 1999)
- International Women of Courage Award by US Ambassador Kristie Kenney (December 5, 2007)
- Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service (2008)
- Citation for Grace Padaca. (Accessed April 27, 2009)
- Grace Padaca’s vision by Nora O. Gamolo. (Accessed April 27, 2009)
- Grace Padaca,former COA auditor,is the governor-elect of Isabela. (Accessed April 27, 2009)