Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Manay Gina, the quintessential Filipina

MARIA GEORGINA P. DE VENECIA, also known as Manay Gina, was born in Manila on February 15. She is married to Jose de Venecia Jr, Speaker of the House of Representatives in the 9th, 10th, 12th, 13th and 14th Congress. She has four children: Carissa, Philip, Christopher and KC.

Gina has roots in both the worlds of politics and showbusiness. Her father was the famous star-builder of Sampaguita Pictures, the late “Doc Perez’ of Bulacan, while her mother, the former Azucena Vera-Perez of Albay, is currently the president of Sampaguita Pictures and Vera-Perez Pictures. Her maternal grandfather Jose Vera was once the Governor of Albay, Senator of the Philippines, and Judge of the Lower Court of Manila.

She finished high school at the Assumption Convent, and acquired a degree in Business Administration in Pace College, New York.Immediately after graduation, she served as Vice President and Comptroller of Sampaguita Pictures, VP Enterprises and Jose Vera Corporation.

In 1992 she became the President and Chairperson of the Congressional Spouses Foundation, Inc. (CSFI). Her first two terms as CSFI president is defined by her landmark achievement in championing the cause of abused women with the establishment of the nine-building The Haven for Women in Alabang. It was inaugurated in September 30, 1995, and immediately followed by the construction of the 15 Regional Centers for Women, nationwide.

On February 15, 1997, Mrs. de Venecia also signed a Memorandum of Agreement with then DILG Secretary Robert Barbers that paved the way for the setting-up of Women’s and Children’s Desk in every police station in the country.

The plight of battered women whose lives were transformed by The Haven for Women, served as inspiration for her radio program “Pira-pirasong Pangarap,” launched in June 1996. The following year, its TV version made its debut on GMA 7. After seven years, the program was re-launched as Nagmamahal, Manay Gina in the tri-media: DZBB, Balita and GMA 7. Today, “Nagmamahal, Manay Gina continues to chronicle true-to-life stories of everyday heroes on DZBB. She also maintains advice columns in Balita and Tempo publications.

For all her achievements, Mrs. de Venecia has received numerous recognitions, including:

  • “Gintong Ina” - 1994

  • "Mother of Public Service" and "Ideal Woman of the Year" - 1996

  • “Dakilang Ina” ,“Gintong Ina”, "Distinguished Public Service", “Women of Distinction” - 1997

  • “Advancing the Status of Women” award in 1999

  • In 2001, she was conferred by the Mindanao State University a Doctorate Degree in Humanities, for championing the cause of the disadvantaged.

    She also lends her name to noble causes, as Chairperson of the 2002 Apolinario Mabini Awards that honor the achievements of the disabled; and the 2002 Aliw Awards that give recognitions to outstanding artists.

    Mrs. de Venecia returned as President and Chairperson of CSFI in 2001. Once again, her inspired leadership has become the rallying spirit of the congressional spouses to develop the Phase 2 of The Haven for Women.

    Her third term as CSFI presient is defined by the establishment of The 8-building The Haven for Children in Muntinlupa City, for the rehabilitation of streetchildren, ages 7 to 13. It was inaugurated in January 15, 2004.

    In line with this new advocacy, she also launched "Bituing Pangarap ng mga Batang Sampaguita" on November 25, 2004 in partnership with the DSWD, which is aimed at saving the sampaguita vendors off the dangers of the streets.

    A tragedy that took her youngest child, KC on December 16, 2004 moved Mrs. de Venecia to establish the INA Foundation. Its mission is to provide psycho–social support to grieving mothers who lost their child, to help them move on from a place of grief to a place of hope. INA Healing Center was opened on December 16, 2004 in commemoration of KC’s 2nd anniversary at the DSWD Compound, Batasan Hills, Quezon City.

    In 2007, The Haven for Women reached its completion with the addition of the KC de Venecia Recreational Center. From its original nine buildings, The Haven for Women, through the years was transformed into a 16-building complex with state-of-the-art facilities making it as the most complete rehabilitation facility in the country. From the time it was opened in 1995, The Haven for Women has successfully rehabilitated more than 17, 000 abused women. Many of them are victims of rape, incest, forced prostitution, physical and emotional abuse, abandonment and rejection.

    It was also in 2006, when she brought her campaign to save the abandoned children to a national scale by finishing three Regional Centers for Children in Dagupan City, Tarlac City and Solana, Cagayan. In February of 2007, the fourth Regional Center for Children will start its construction in Agusan del Sur.

    In recognition of her exemplary ability to help-with-dispatch in times of calamitiy, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo appointed her as Consultant to the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) on December 5, 2006.

    On February 15, 2007, Mrs. de Venecia took oath as President of the Assumption High School ’66 and College ’70 Foundation. Her first project is the two-storey building that serves as a Day-Care Center and Multi-Purpose Hall for the residents and some 800 pre-school children of Barangay Don Bosco in Paranaque City.

    During the celebration of International Women’s Day on March 7, 2007, Mrs. de Venecia received the prestigious Outstanding Humanitarian Service Award from the International Centennial Feminist Association of the Philippines and the Rotary Club of Manila 101.

    For the past 16 years in public service, Gina de Venecia has shown that she is a true ‘Champion of the Abused’, and ‘Protector of Women and Children’.


    Jearry Berg said...

    Though there is nothing so different, Manay Gina De Venecia’s blogsite looked interesting as if one would want to know more about it upon viewing the site for the first time.

    For me, visiting her blogsite makes me feel relieved. It’s as if visiting a home where your loved ones are waiting to comfort you in your darkest moment and to share with the happiness you feel whenever you have another achievement. It somehow eases every pain one experiences, and erases every fear one tries to conquer.

    The color of the background, carnation pink, could attract women who have their own fights in their life. It symbolizes femininity, one factor that really hits its targeted audiences.

    Though the blogsite is quite new to the list, for me, a lot more inspiring pictures could help it establish more heartwarming words and thoughts.

    Louie Miguel said...

    Very motherly. Two words that would best describe the persona of Manay Gina de Venecia. It’s really inspiring to know that there’s someone who would do an effort to make other Filipino’s lives feel they’re blest. Hers is a story of a woman who would make a difference. Her icon is grace, determination and benevolence.

    This blog would be another channel for improving lives of Filipinos. It’s like Mariah Carey singing “Through the Rain” and “Can’t Take That Away.” It’s like a home for Filipinos who needs to be relieved and be helped.

    dickson said...

    Such an heaven-sent angel disguised as a mother that everyone could pour their hearts out to.

    It was such a relief to know that there are people who are willing to help you and will never get tired of reaching out to common people like us.

    Everytime I feel like the world has turn its back on me, I would always take comfort to the fact that there are people whom I could always draw emotional strength from -Manay Gina sure belongs to that list.

    My hat's off to you, Manay Gina! =)

    Charmaine said...

    Manay Gina de Venecia is a woman of substance, of strength and of real beauty.

    It's nice to know that someone like her is sharing herself to people in need. In a country where problems just seem to come out of nowhere, a living hero like Manay Gina de Venecia is what we need.

    It's amazing how she empowers women of all ages and how she keeps her passion for public service, despite everything she has gone through.

    I'm sure that this blog would serve as an outlet for lots of people because Many Gina is someone we can always turn to.

    Keep it up. :)

    Maria Isabelle said...

    Manay Gina, I believe you are a multifaceted. You have accomplished so much. You are the ideal woman. You are smart. You are beautiful. You are strong. You are compassionate. You are a woman. You proved that women, like men, are equally equipped and just as competitive.

    Good luck.:)

    donie jane said...

    I heard about her while growing up but not until her eulogy to Pres. Cory Aquino that i got interested on her.

    Just like her I have dreams on helping build better lives for Filipino's and empowering women. And just like her I experience pain and sorrows.

    But just by reading her blogs makes realize that I'm not alone and the best thing about it is that I am comforted by such a wonderful person like her. Yes indeed, Very Motherly...you make me want to be a better person and continue to reach for my dreams.

    I hope someday I can meet you.