December 6, 2023
OUTSTANDING WOMEN LEADERS — The city government of Baguio recognized four Outstanding Women Leaders as part of the celebration of Women’s Month on March 16. This year’s OWLs are Annie Marie Caguioa, for education; Maria Monica Costales, for human resource management; Editha SemillaPuddoc, for public administration/community peace building; and Marites Baucas, for community women empowerment. — Hanna Lacsamana

Four residents of Baguio have been added to the city’s growing list of Outstanding Women Leaders.
As part of the celebration of Women’s Month, the city government has recognized four women leaders who excelled in the fields of public administration and community peace building, community women empowerment, human resource management, and education.
Editha Semilla Puddoc is the awardee for public administration and community peace building. She has been a resident since 1988 and works as a director at the National Police Commission-Cordillera.
Under her leadership, Napolcom-CAR has ensured the region’s police force continues to increase its engagement with the Philippine Commission on Women to improve gender mainstreaming among their ranks.
In 2018, the commission partnered with the OWLs and University of the Cordilleras, organizing the Women’s Forum on Crime Prevention and Gender Awareness and Development.
This led to the organization of the Sangguniang Kabataan Youth Summit which helped cascade information on combating illegal drugs, violence against women and children, and social factors affecting general health.
Marites Baucas has been chosen as an OWL for her contribution in community women empowerment.
A resident of Baguio for 33 years, Baucas was first employed as a laborer at Hangar market, worked as a farmer in Buguias, Benguet, her hometown.
In 2000, she was a community participant, became a committee member and later a member of the Board of Directors of the Balacbac Multipurpose Cooperative.
In 2012, she was elected president of the Sto. Tomas Proper Women’s Association and contributed in the development of the women’s social life and economic productivity that led to the establishment of a bakery that promoted and sold their products, becoming their source of income.
She became an OWL in the eyes of her community, women, and partners for contributing to the welfare of women members, indigent families, victims of abuse, youth, and children.
Maria Monica Costales, who has lived in the city for 55 years, is the OWL for human resource management.
As an educator at the Philippine Military Academy, she was every student’s champion who values education and advocates students’ welfare from 1997 to 2020, helping around 3,500 PMA graduates.
Her services as an educator and researcher have been extended to the entire Armed Forces of the Philippines.
She has also been organizing Baguio balik-eskwela projects distributing school supplies, and with her colleagues, she has been actively donating to projects for social causes.
Since becoming an educator in the 1990’s, Costales has been committed in purchasing school supplies and donating them in Baguio and neighboring communities using her personal resources.
Annie Marie Caguioa, OWLs awardee in the field of education, has been a resident of the city for 41 years. A teacher by profession, she rose from ranks as classroom adviser to assistant school director of St. Louis School.
Caguioa was also consulted by the city council of Baguio on the implementation of the Solo Parent Act to help single parents, especially women, ensure the welfare of their children. She empowered the parents and teachers association and alumni association of their school by giving financial assistance for the tuition of children with solo parents.
She also created the learners’ financial assistance that benefited around 350 learners in the school during the Covid-19 pandemic where most parents lost their job and cannot sustain the education of their children.
The OWLs 2023 awardees were feted on March 16 at the PFVR Gym led by its president Dona Digna Rosario and city officials led by Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan, Rep. Mark Go represented by wife Sol, and Philippine Information Agency-CAR Director Helen R. Tibaldo who was the guest of honor and speaker. – Hanna C. Lacsamana