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Geraldine Roman: A New Breed Of Working Leader

When she was named one of the 100 Leading Global Thinkers in 2016 by US-based Foreign Policy magazine, Orani, Bataan should be very proud of. Actually, the nation should be very proud of. Geraldine Roman is the first transgender congresswoman elected in the Philippine Congress and was elected by tremendous victory.

And at the same time, in a very short period of time, Geraldine made a name of her own and accomplished a lot of important works.

The same year, she was listed as one of the “Inspiring Women of 2016” by Time magazine.

She received many more awards and recognitions that inspire her to work and work more in unrelenting manner simply to prove statement that is not needed to be translated to words.

She is worthy of every single vote she received in 2016 in the First District of Bataan that composed of historically mapped municipalities in the country.

She assumed office only in June 30, 2016. Before that, her name is not included in the emerging names of new breed of leaders except that she is a Roman.

Not capitalizing too much on their legendary political clan, Geraldine made a name partly of being a bold and determined transgender but because of her political agenda.

To Summarized, she said, “I will serve the people and I will be honest and every single vote given to me will not be wasted”.

She studied at the University of the Philippines and the University of the Basque Country in Spain.

Basque is a historical place in Europe with their own culture, language, history, literature working to be separated from Spain for the very long period of time.

But the Spanish government said that Basque is very important to the country and the separation will never happen.

Roman was a journalist by profession before but now a politician whose motto is “dedicate the entire life for God, country and people”.

She was born in 1967 and the second of four children of a political family.

Her mother Herminia Roman was a former congresswoman while her father Antonino Roman, Jr. in his time represent the first district of Bataan as congressman and as assemblyman during the Marcos time.

He also served in the finance ministry under Cesar Virata and Malacanang Political liason officer of Pres. Noynoy Aquino.

Roman spent her early childhood in Orani, Bataan and though teased by her classmates in her young days, her parents taught her to be strong and confident.

She attended Ateneo de Manila University for her elementary and high school studies.

Then she attended the University of the Philippines and managed to secure a scholarship to pursue journalism at the University of the Basque Country in Spain.

She attained two master’s degrees. She worked in Spain as a senior editor for the Spanish News Agency before returning to the Philippines in 2012 to take care of her father, who was seriously ill by that time.

Political history in Bataan was partly rewritten in 2016 by her entry in the political arena.

She won by a wide margin over mayor Danilo Malana of Aksyon Demokratiko.

She garnered almost 65% of the votes and became the first ever transgender congresswoman in Philippine congress.

In so short a time, she made her presence in the 17th congress very much felt.

And here are some of her accomplishments: Along with other elected lawmakers collectively known as ‘equality champs’, they launched the passage of the anti-discrimination bill on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity known as the SOGIE Equality Bill.

She also filed bills regarding eco-tourism, livelihood enhancements, agriculture advancements, health, and education, which were the advocacies of her family.

Roman expressed her support for a federal form of government in the Philippines.

She cited the Spanish federal system as a possible reference for the Philippines’ federal prospects.

Roman voted to approve a bill reinstating the death penalty in the Philippines.

Roman supports same-sex civil unions for the Philippines, but does not prioritize it.

Roman supports a cancer institute bill, which she authored. She supports the health bills of Em Aglipay in the House of Representatives and Risa Hontiveros in the Senate.

In the 1990s, Roman underwent sex reassignment surgery at age 26 in New York City and had her name changed.

Her gender was also legally changed to the one she identifies with.

Roman’s partner is a Spanish man in Spain, but they are not married.

She also speaks Spanish, French and Italian. She is a practicing Catholic.

As a workaholic, she simple said, we only once, and we should dedicate our energy in the service as stated in my oath of office.

Enough words to salute her and support her advocacies.

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