Education and the Academe
David earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology at the University of the Philippines, Diliman in 1966. That same year, she started work as a Teaching Assistant in the same university. In 1968 she completed academic requirements in the university's Master of Arts in Sociology program, but lacked oral requirements. She was later promoted to Assistant Professor in 1970, and earned a Master of Arts in Economic and Social Studies from Victoria University of Manchester in England in 1974.
Government Service and Consultancy
In 1986, she was appointed Undersecretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development. She later became the overall consultant of the Philippine Development Plan for Women at the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW) from 1988 to 1989. David also served as consultant for the women's mission of the Deutsche Gessellscahft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) in 1989. She was again involved with the NCRFW from 1995 to 1996 as a consultant for the Philippine Plan for Gender Responsive Development. David also served as a consultant for the Asian and Pacific Development Centre in its poverty and women's program policy planning. From 1998 to 1999, she headed the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, and was considered the head of the boards of all shelter agencies in the Philippines. During her term, she made housing and urban development goals and strategies, monitored targets and increased the participation of the private sector. She also proposed legislation and made policies for asset disposition. David was later appointed as Chair of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) in 2001 by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, succeeding Corazon Alma G. De Leon. For her stint with the CSC, she received the World Bank's Jit Gill Memorial Award for Outstanding Public Service in 2008.
Resignations under different administrations
Under the Estrada Administration
David was the former Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) Chairperson under the Estrada administration. She resigned from her position in October 15, 1999, hinting she was a victim of political set-up. Four days before her resignation, she went to a luncheon meeting at the Malcanang Palance to discuss the declining satisfaction rating of Estrada. Those who were present were Jacinto Ng, Jose Luis Yulo, former Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, National Housing Authority general manager Anthony F. Leynes and Wilfredo Hernandez, President of the Home Insurance and Guaranty Corp. (HIGC).
She was tasked to organize all the housing agencies as the housing sector would play a crucial role in getting Estrada’s approval rating up. However, before she had left the Palace, she was informed that then PAG-IBIG-head Mel Alonzo had been fired from her position without the President informing her of this decision.
Yulo was also appointed as the Presidential Adviser on Housing, which was held by David during that time. David expressed in her resignation letter that the structures were without clear center of accountability creates confusion and instability.
Under the Arroyo Administration
David was appointed by former President and now Representative of Pampanga Gloria Macapaga-Arroyo on February 23, 2001 as the Chairperson of the Civil Service Commission. During her term, David instituted performance management system in government offices, introduced new statement of assets and liabilities (SALN) forms and finished a draft proposal for a new government compensation system.
At the height of the NBN-ZTE deal, she was one of government officials who expressed loss of confidence in Arroyo. She and 80 members of the Former Senior Government Officials (FSGO) questioned the capacity of the Arroyo to rule the government. She also hinted to then current officials under the Arroyo administration to assess if they should continue with their duties.
David held many leadership posts during her involvement with NGOs, particularly with associations of NGOs. These positions included:
- Caucus of Development NGO Networks - President, 1989-1998
- Women's Action Network for Development - Vice Chairperson, 1990-1998
- Partnership of Philippine Support Service Agencies - Chairperson, 1989-1995
- Independent Commission on Population and the Quality of Life- Commissioner, 1992-1996
- People's Forum for Habitat II - National Convenor, 1995-1996
In 1998 David was the Executive Director of Harnessing Self-Reliant Initiatives and Knowledge (HASIK), a non-government organization which aims for the empowerment of the urban poor through gender development, housing and livelihood projects and the protection of children and adolescents.
David was also the President of Eco-Shelter, Inc. a private company involved in shelter construction and development of alternative housing materials, from 1997 to 1998. From 1999 until her appointment to the CSC, David was president of Property Solutions, Inc., a private company that offers innovative and alternative interventions to various property issues.
Private Life and Music
She has also been the composer and guitarist of the female duo Inang Laya from 1981 to the present. The duo, known for their progressive-feminist songs, has had several albums released locally.