Zonta Club of Cebu II confers award to Women’s Rights Champion

Officers of Zonta Club of Cebu II (from left) Atty. Regal Oliva, Ms. Marilou Cañizares, and Area Director for Area 3 Stella Bernabe (right most) lead the awarding of Atty. Virginia Palanca Santiago for her exemplary works in women empowerment. The awarding was done during the club’s General Membership Meeting at Casino Español last Aug. 10, 2019. The program was hosted by Ms. Petite Garcia (far from back).

For her numerous success in pursuing cases against abusive public officials and her continued advocacy in women empowerment, Lawyer Virginia Palanca Santiago was awarded by the Zonta Club of Cebu II last Saturday, August10, 2019 during the club’s General Membership Meeting held at Casino Español de Cebu.

“In honor of Zonta International’s Centennial Anniversary, we are hereby giving this award, the Champion Award, to Atty. Virginia Palanca Santiago for her outstanding commitment to empowering women in the community,” Zonta Club of Cebu II president Marilou Cañizares said.

Atty. Santiago’s numerous achievements not only in her work but also in her personal life after having successfully raised her three children as both their mother and father, her continuous drive towards reaching more women and imparting to them her knowledge about women’s rights even after she has retired from public service in 2012 make her the best example of a woman empowering other women in her capacity.

Despite finishing Cum Laude in her pre-law degree in philosophy and was second in her class at the Ateneo de Manila Law School, Atty. Santiago did not pursue a sterling career in private legal practice but opted for government service.

After about 40 years in public service – 11 years of fighting so that people could have their own land while working in DAR from 1972 to 1983, followed by 13 years of prosecuting criminals as a City Prosecutor from 1983 to 1996 and her 16 years of dealing with erring public officials at the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas, Atty. Santiago surely walks the talk.

In her acceptance speech, Atty. Santiago said she is humbled by the award and said that just like before, she has always performed her job as assigned to her without waiting for promotions.

She said back in the day, she received a lot of threats and attempts of bribery but she did not let that hinder her. Instead she pushed on and just to her job with all honesty and passion to help more women.

“After retirement, I thought I am done and that I will just be travelling around. But no. I was invited by LAW Inc. and continue with what I have started. I cry a lot especially listening to the experience of the women who were victims of abuse,” said Atty. Santiago.

With the award, the Zonta Club of Cebu II hopes to inspire more women through the works of Atty. Santiago.

“We will also be nominating her for the award in the international level and we are confident that she will be a strong candidate for this because of all that she has achieved for women empowerment,” said Cañizares. (PR)