Medina Lacson De Leon

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Medina Lacson De Leon was a former congresswoman and undersecretary of commerce. One of the very few women leaders of the country whose achievements in the government service and in civic and cultural fields have been noticed and recognized both here and abroad. De Leon has been a recipient of various commendations, plaques, and merit awards from countless press and radio organizations, and civic, religious and cultural clubs and associations all over the country.

Biography

She was not born with a silver spoon in her mouth, but through honest sweat and struggle, through her inborn gift of intellect and patriotism, she has risen to national prominence. Born in Puerto Rivas, Balanga, Bataan from the harmonious wedlock of Simeon D. Lacson and Maria Dizon, both deceased, she is one of the couple's ten children. Her education was obtained at Puerto Rivas. Later she went to Balanga to complete her intermediate and secondary education at the Balanga Elementary School and Bataan High School (now Arellano Memorial High School). She finished law in 1937 from the Philippines Law School, passed the bar examination the same year, and went into private practice in Bataan and Manila shortly after. She was a consistent scholar while in school and college. It did not take her long after her admission to the bar in 1937 before her ability was recognized in various domains of activity in the courtroom, in business, in social welfare and cultural work, in civic crusades, in Congress, on the war front and in the local and international conferences.

Accomplishments

At early age, she traveled to the United States, China, Hawaii, Hongkong, and Japan. She observed, at first hand, the educational, business and living conditions in those countries. In 1940, she was sent as a lay delegate to the General Conference of the Methodist church held at Atlantic City, New Jersey; she made a side trip to China and had a opportunity to observe at close range the Shanghai Refugee Camp situated behind the old home of Generalissimo and Mrs. Chiang Kai-shek. She visited Honolulu, looked into the lives of Filipinos there, and studied the business possibilities between the Philippines and Hawaii.

  • In the United States, she spoke before the youth groups and visited Stanford University, the University of California at Berkeley, Northwestern University at Evanston, Illinois, the University of Chicago, and Columbia University.
  • She could not accept the Lisle Fellowship in New York to further her studies in law because of troubled world conditions. She was advised to go home by the Office of the Philippine resident Commissioner in Washington, D.c.
  • Upon arrival in the Philippines, she resumed the practice of law. The late Josefa Ll. Escoda invited her to help organized the Girl Scout Movement in the Philippines, but her father's sudden illness prevented her from accepting the offer. She had to take over the job of running the family enterprises on deep sea fishing and manufacture of native sauce(patis)
  • Mrs. de Leon at that recruited laborers for the airfields in bataan. She requisitioned fishing equipment and paraphernalia to catch fish for the hungry men of the USAFFE. She organized the evacuation camp for civilians at Km. 161 and the Fishing Village at Cabcaben, Mariveles, Bataan which became the center of hope of thousands of civilian victims of the was and the only source of food for the miserable legions of our defenders. She also attended to the sick and wounded, and distributed rations to the people. She was with the Death March, but manage to escape and at the same time she was able to pull away several men and officers, women, and children from the line and guide them to places of safety.

President Macapagal appointed De Leon Undersecretary of Commerce. In this position she made a name for herself as a champion of trade and business. The Diplomatist, a London publication, described her as a "Philippine official promoting her country's trade with brilliance and dash."

Reference

  • 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

Citation

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