(Feature Photo Courtesy of Board Member Vic Ziga Jr.’s Facebook)
Recent history opened up the conversation on gender rights. But many people, particularly in the Philippines, ignore the pioneers of this kind of movement. It’s high time that we give credit to a woman who pioneered many feats in her lifetime.
Her name is Tecla San Andres, a native of Naga City in the province of Camarines Sur, who eventually married a politician in the name of Victor Ziga who hailed from the neighboring province of Albay. Thus, she eventually adopted her spouse’s family name.
The year was 1930. For the first time, a lady landed first in the coveted Philippine Bar Exam. According to her profile on the Senate website, she garnered an astounding 99% grade in Remedial Law. After which she went on a successful career as a lawyer at the DeWitt Law Office.
Never resting on her laurels, and as stated in her Senate profile, she topped the Civil Service Exam in 1937. There, her career as a Civil Servant will break many barriers anew. She worked at the Department of Justice before eventually running for public office when, according to sources, his brother died in an accident. Hence, her political career rolled. She became a full-fledged member of the Congress.
Soon, the brilliant lady took the helm as administrator of the Social Welfare Administration. The limelight probably helped her gauge national attention because, to no surprise, she was given a shot by the electorate as a Senator of the Republic. As Senator, Ms. San Andres-Ziga held various committees.
Indeed, in the Philippines at least, Senator San Andres-Ziga broke many glass ceilings.
Undoubtedly, she deserves more than enough credit for living a life of excellence and novelty. In a country where politics is always a part of the conversation, we should spread the focus to many others who broke records in their lifetime. In the end, Senator San Andres-Ziga will remain as one of the best lady lawyers who redefined what it means to be an abogada de campanilla.