Women have come a long way to achieve equal rights in society. Although there’s still much to do, there’s no doubt that women progressed in various sectors previously dominated by men–including public service.
Today, seven cities across Metro Manila have the distinction of being led by a woman, positively impacting Filipinos with their strength and fresh perspectives.
Abby Binay (Makati)
Following in the footsteps of her mother, Dr. Elenita Binay, who served from 1998 to 2001 as the first female mayor of Makati City, Binay leads Makati with a modern vision in mind. But among her many challenges is paving her own path in public service, away from her family’s shadows and gender prejudices. Nonetheless, she’s persistent in creating a highly-urbanized Makati that focuses on its bustling economy and tourism, improving public safety, healthcare, and education, and investing in infrastructure for long-term progress.
Imelda Aguilar (Las Piñas)
After assuming the position of mayor from her husband, Vergel ‘Nene’ Aguilar, in 2016, the incumbent Las Piñas Mayor vowed to ensure unhampered social services, environment protection, and good governance. She also pushes for women’s empowerment and accessible quality education for all. As a mother, Aguilar channels her instincts and compassion toward her people, positioning herself as a nurturing mother her constituents can lean on. And like every mother, she does everything to achieve the goals she sees best for Las Piñas residents.
Jeannie Sandoval (Malabon)
In 2022, Sandoval became the first female mayor of Malabon, adding more weight to the position, symbolizing change and a new class of leadership in the city. She envisions a genuine people-centric governance, which she began implementing as the Malabon Vice Mayor from 2013 to 2019. Her advocacies range from social welfare to women empowerment, and she also gets involved with other sectors such as healthcare, education, social services, and livelihood. Sandoval views public service as a calling to nurture for the benefit of Malabon residents.
Honey Lacuna (Manila)
Manila has a long history of having male mayors leading the city, and in 2022, Lacuna broke the cycle by becoming the first female mayor. She began serving the public as a community center doctor and always considered her being soft or feminine as a strength that could help her guide others better. Her lofty dreams for the city include boosting its healthcare to be the best in the Philippines and building dwellings and other infrastructures that empower all Manileños in all their diversity.
Imelda Calixto-Rubiano (Pasay)
Thanks to her stint as a city councilor from 1998 to 2010 and as a two-term Congressional Representative for Pasay from 2010 to 2019, incumbent Pasay Mayor Calixto-Rubiano became a household name to her constituents. Public service came easy to her, becoming a motherly figure to Pasay residents and implementing programs and projects to serve their interests. She prioritizes health within her city through various accessible services. The Pasay mayor also empowers the youth and women by giving them numerous opportunities to empower themselves.
Joy Belmonte (Quezon City)
After serving as Quezon City’s vice mayor from 2010 to 2019, Belmonte refined her leadership brand before becoming mayor. Aside from devising an elaborate plan that propels Quezon City toward modernity, her vision for the city hails from an inclusive foundation as she promotes gender equality geared toward women and the LGBTQIA+ community. On the other hand, she also champions environment preservation and good governance, as evident in the breakthrough programs throughout Quezon City that earned various accolades and set the benchmark for other LGUs.
Lani Cayetano (Taguig)
From 2010 to 2019 and again in 2022, Cayetano was at the helm of Taguig. But besides focusing on Taguig’s growth, she believes the most
significant investment she can make is empowering her constituents through diverse programs, with some dedicated to women. As the wife of former Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, the Taguig Mayor recognizes the challenges of being affiliated with another politician in her career and personal life. Nonetheless, she continues to blaze her own path and do more for her city regardless of age and gender.
Metro Manila cities saw various improvements throughout the years with women in charge. As leaders, they’ve sparked significant change to benefit their constituents. As women, they’ve set an inspiring example of how women can be anything they want if they put their hearts and minds into it.