Geronima Josefa Tomelden Pecson (December 19, 1895 – July 31, 1989) was the first woman UNESCO Board member (Philippines) in 1950.
She was the first woman senator of the Philippines. She was elected in the 1947 Senatorial elections. Apart from being a senator, Pecson was also a suffragette, an educator, a social worker, and a leader in nation-building. Pecson was also the "first Filipino and first woman elected to the executive board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)" in 1950.
Pecson was born in Barrio Libsong in Lingayen, Pangasinan as the second offspring of Victor Tomelden and Maria Paz Palisoc. She was baptized three days later on December 22, 1895. Her husband was Potenciano Pecson.
Pecson gained her elementary education from Lingayen's public schools. She obtained her college education from the University of the Philippines, where she graduated with degrees in Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts.
Before becoming a senator, Pecson served as the private secretary of President José P. Laurel. Afterwards, Pecson became the Assistant Executive Secretary of President Manuel Roxas in 1946. Pecson participated as a candidate for the Philippines Senate in 1947. During Pecson's tenure as a senator, she headed the Senate Committee on Education, the Senate Committee on Health and Public Welfare, and the Joint Congressional Committee on Education. Apart from being a member of Philippines Commission on Appointments and of the Senate Electoral Tribunal, Pecson pioneered Philippines laws that included the 1953 Free and Compulsory Education Act, the Vocational Education Act, laws related to establishing training facilities for instructors of arts and trades in certain national schools, and laws that upgraded the University of the Philippines' School of Forestry into a College of Forestry.
Pecson received the numerous awards during her lifetime. These awards included the Press Association's Legion of Honor Award from the President of the Philippines, the Pro Patria Presidential Award, and the 1964 Outstanding Award because of her "excellent service in Philippines education". She had also been bestowed Presidential medals and citations because of "educational statesmanship through legislation" and for "being the first Filipino and first woman elected to the executive board of UNESCO".
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