Juanita L. Nepomuceno: Pampanga's Great Matriarch-A A +A
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
WHEN it comes to leadership, does gender matter? Is there a difference between women leaders and men who lead? If so, what are the unique qualities of leadership that most effective women leaders possess, and are they unique to women?
In 2005, a year-long study conducted by Caliper, a Princeton, New Jersey- based management consulting firm, and Aurora, a London-based organization that advances women, identified a number of characteristics that distinguish women leaders from men when it comes to qualities of leadership: Women leaders are more assertive and persuasive, have a stronger need to get things done and are more willing to take risks than male leaders.
Women leaders were also found to be more empathetic and flexible, as well as stronger in interpersonal skills than their male counterparts... enabling them to read situations accurately and take information in from all sides... These women leaders are able to bring others around to their point of view... because they genuinely understand and care about where others are coming from so that the people they are leading feel more understood, supported and valued.
In her book "Why the Best Man for the Job is a Woman: The Unique Female Qualities of Leadership," author Esther Wachs examines the careers of top female executives to learn what makes them so successful. What she discovers echoes the Caliper study, including a willingness to reinvent the rules; an ability to sell their visions; the determination to turn challenges into opportunities; and a focus on "high touch" in a high-tech business world. Scholars find that women, compared with men, tend to excel in consensus-building and certain other skills useful in leadership.
Women have been at the forefront of politics, for a long time now. They have ruled since the dawn of time. Egyptian queens governed the Mesopotamian area, as early as 3000 BC. Women became members of parliament in East European countries after the Great War. They hold offices in many governments.
The late Juanita Lumanlan-Nepomuceno had been one of the icons of women lawmakers and executives whose contributions during the post-war Congress and pre-martial law had an impact to nation-building, such as: (1) Construction of Multi-Tenement Buildings for the Poor and the Homeless Law; (2) Land Reform Law; (3) Conversion of Angeles into a Chartered City Law; and (4) Initiation of Pampanga's Most Outstanding Kapampangan Awards (MOKA).
Women's representation in policy-making from the start of our legislative history to the 1950s seems to be totally negligible. Until the start of the United Nations Women's Decade (1976-1985) - congresswomen advocated generally for education and social amelioration rather than what are presently considered specific gender issues and concerns.
In the Sixth Congress, Sen. Eva Kalaw pushed for the conversion of the Social Welfare Administration into a Department of Social Work. At the Seventh Congress (1969-72) Sen. Benitez authored the Medicare Law (RA 6111). The concerns of the senators for social amelioration were paralleled by the congresswomen during the Fifth Congress from 1961 to 1965. Congresswoman Juanita Nepomuceno of Pampanga (1st District-Pampanga) authored Republic Act No. 3469, "An Act Authorizing the Construction of Multi-Storey Tenement Building Projects for the Poor and Homeless and Appropriating Funds Therefore" approved on June 16, 1962.
This law was aimed at alleviating the substandard living conditions of the masses. According to the act, "The Government shall provide tenement buildings for the poor and the homeless to nominal rental rates, consistently with the policy of avoiding concentration of population in densely inhabited areas. Any family head whose gross income together with that of the spouse shall not exceed P1,800 annually, and shall also include any family head whose gross annual income together with that of the spouse exceeds such amount provided the excess shall not be more than the number of immediate dependents times P120."
The Department of Public Works and Communications was authorized to plan, design and call for public bidding for the construction of the tenement buildings provided at least 70 percent of the construction materials to be used in the multi-storey buildings must be of Philippine origin or locally produced or manufactured materials as far as practicable. Each apartment in such tenement buildings shall contain complete separate sanitary facilities and adequate playground space for children as may be appropriate for the number of tenants and the ground floor of such tenement buildings shall be built to be rented as stores to citizens of the Philippines. One of the guiding factors shall be the elimination of slums from our cities.
Congresswoman Nepomuceno or "Imang Saning" as she was fondly called, authored the Land Reform Law which freed many poor peasants from slavery of tenancy.
The Agricultural Land Reform Code (RA 3844) approved on August 8, 1963 was a major Philippine land reform law enacted under President Diosdado Macapagal. It abolished tenancy and established a leasehold system in which farmers paid fixed rentals to landlords, rather than a percentage of harvest.
It also established the Land Bank of the Philippines to help with land reform, particularly the purchase of agricultural estates for division and resale to small landholders, and the purchase of land by the agricultural lessee. The main provisions of the Agricultural Land Reform Code were: (1) To establish and encourage the formation of family-sized farms as the basis for Philippine agriculture; (2) To improve the lives of farmers by liberating them from harmful practices such as illegal interest rates; (3) To encourage greater productivity and increase income of small farmers; (4) To apply labor laws equally regardless of status; (5) To provide a land settlement program and promote equitable distribution of land; and (6) To make poor farmers self-reliant, responsible citizens to strengthen society.
Angeles City, despite its proximity to the American camp popularly known as Clark Air Base, did not progress fast and remained fairly small until the end of World War II. Angeles City was finally inaugurated on January 1, 1964 as a chartered city under Republic Act No. 3700 and entered a period of tremendous growth that has resulted in its present position as the "Premier City in Central Luzon."
It was then Mayor Rafael del Rosario who gained the distinction of being the last municipal mayor and first city mayor of Angeles. Congresswoman Nepomuceno authored the bill in Congress, which was approved by then President Macapagal. Apung Saning served as the representative of the 1st District of Pampanga during the 5th Congress (1961-1965) and 6th Congress (1965-1969). Her husband, Francisco "Tatang Quitong" Nepomuceno also represented the same congressional district during the 4th Congress (1957-1961), elected Pampanga governor from 1960 to 1971 and later became City Mayor of Angeles City. Her eldest son Robin or "Bongbing" served as member of the provincial board and Vice Governor and later became barangay captain and City Councilor of Angeles City and president of the Association of Barangay Captains.
Her youngest son, Francis or "Blueboy" to many, also served the same district during the 11th, 12th and 13th Congress (1998-2007) and later as City Mayor of Angeles City earning the title "Tulay sa Progreso" for the landmark projects he has established such as the Pandan and Hensonville bridges which were wiped out by Pinatubo's eruption in 1991, and the modernization projects he has initiated by installing, for the first time in the history of Angeles City, traffic lights in most intersections, center islands and rotundas accentuated with decorative lights.
Imang Saning also served as the first woman governor of Pampanga from 1976 to 1980 and the Most Outstanding Kapampangan Awards (MOKA) was first organized during the Pampanga Day celebration in 1978 through her initiatives. She was born August 21, 1914 and passed away at the age of 86 on August 13, 2000.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on March 09, 2011.