JAAF celebrates #FearlessFilipinas

Araneta Group hails six female leaders who are changing the country in time for Women’s Month

Historically, Filipinas have been central figures in the story of our nation. From revolutionary heroes, to presidents, to Olympic medalists, women have constantly rewritten and defined their story and in the process inspired our entire country. 

This March—as we celebrate Women’s Month—the J. Amado Araneta Foundation (JAAF) is highlighting the work of six #FearlessFilipinas who use their platform to uplift the lives of the people in their communities. By harnessing the advocacies, projects, and efforts they supported, planned, and implemented, these women are not just transforming the lives they touched, they are creating a legacy that inspires others to act and effect change in their communities. These Filipinas have also courageously and tirelessly lent a helping hand in making various projects of the Araneta Group and JAAF more impactful for society.

Our first Fearless Filipina is MIKAELA LUISA CARMEN “MAICA” R. TEVES, the Executive Director of Samahan ng mga Pilipina para sa Reporma at Kaunlaran, Inc., or SPARK Philippines, an NGO working for women empowerment and gender equality which has been a partner of JAAF for many projects. Teves has over 20 years of multisectoral managerial experience engaging with different stakeholders in government, civil society, and the private sector. She was selected in the 2020 cohort of women leaders in Southeast Asia. She was named winner of the Women of the Future Awards 2021. Last year, she joined the International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP) in the United States. Currently, she sits as a Board Member of the Philippine Women's Economic Network.

MA. JOSEFINA "JOY" BELMONTE is currently serving as the 11th elected Mayor of Quezon City. Mayor Belmonte believes that the success of the City lies in having trustworthy leadership, data and information-driven decision making, and an efficient and well-functioning government system that is worthy of the public trust. The Mayor's advocacies cover a broad spectrum. Still, they are primarily focused on protecting and upholding the rights of women and children, gender fairness, economic empowerment of women, mental health, culture, and the arts. 

The Foundation has worked with the Quezon City Government, through the leadership of Mayor Belmonte, for special projects involving the health frontline workers, the community sewers, for its arts and culture programs, and a lot more.

Fearless Filipina AGNES QUIMBO VILLARRUZ is based in Roxas City. She is Managing Director of the Gerry Roxas Foundation (GRF) in Visayas, an organization JAAF has been supporting for several years now, especially in its Leadership Development and Community Development Programs. She is instrumental in the organization of the Capiz Women Inc. with more than 5,000 female volunteers for community development, and the empowerment of more than 12,000 Barangay Justice Advocates, primarily women, resolving conflicts as Peace Counselors nationwide.  

FELICITE JEAN GONZALES has a big heart for special people. She has been helping families cope with disabilities through a non-government organization she co-founded, the Philippine Association of Citizens with Developmental and Learning Disabilities (PACDLD). For her work and advocacies, Ms. Gonzales received the Jollibee Family Values Award 2014, the Model Parents Award in 2001, and the Ulirang Ina Award in 1996.

Throughout the years, J. Amado Araneta Foundation and Gateway Gallery have been supporting PACDLD for its advocacy campaigns in Araneta City.

Another #FearlessFilipina is DR. MARIZEL WONG, the epitome of strength and grace and an advocate of accessible healthcare. She pursued medicine because she wanted to serve the people, especially children. She envisioned helping and giving back to the Filipinos. As one of the frontliners leading the fight against the pandemic, Dra. Wong had to endure long hours just to ensure that Quezon City's District 3 health concerns were addressed. Today, the COVID-19 vaccinations are another major project she has to oversee. 

The Foundation is fortunate to have worked with the Quezon City District 3 Health Team, with Dra. Wong at the helm – from TB to COVID-19 response to onsite vaccinations.

MYLENE BINAMIRA GUTLAY is the President of the KapitBahayan ng Gawad Kalinga Araneta Village in Tanay, Rizal. She is a multi-hyphenate, a leader, coordinator, mother, and Barangay Health Worker. If there is anything she aspires for, it is building a community where everyone treats and cares for each other.

Gawad Kalinga – Julio Iglesias Araneta Center Tanay (GK-JIACT) is the adopted community of the J. Amado Araneta Foundation. It is home to 160 families, displaced and survivors of Typhoon Ondoy. Mylene and her family of 4 are one of them.

For more information about the J. Amado Araneta Foundation, please visit https://jaaf.aranetacity.com/. You may also like and follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JAmadoAranetaFoundation/.

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