Raisa rising, Baronda setting?

By Herbert Vego

IN a press conference last Friday, Iloilo City Mayor Jerry “JPT” Treñas announced that Congresswoman Julienne “Jamjam” Baronda had paid him a visit to say that she was not running for re-election in 2025.

The announcement gave his audience the impression that Baronda was willingly giving way for his daughter Raisa Treñas-Chu to run, win and represent the city’s lone district.

Aside from Raisa, Uswag party-list Rep. James “Jojo” Ang Jr. was present in that press-con, obviously to resonate his support. The two had run together in 2022 under the Uswag banner but only Jojo got the required number of winning votes.

In her written statement issued the same day, Jamjam confirmed what the mayor had said, but with a twist: “I think giving in to political division and letting our beloved city’s future get derailed would be a grave mistake.”

“Nanghihinayang,” to say it in one Tagalog word.

She had probably thought that, if ever Raisa would run – as hinted by the “Rise Iloilo” posters posted here and there – it was because her father had been in politics for over two decades and had undergone angioplasty surgery.

Logically, the rumored Treñas-Baronda split would not have to happen. Unity would still prevail should the mayor not run for his third term and give way to Baronda, just as the latter would give way to his daughter.

But, if that is so, why did he fire Jamjam’s sister, former councilor Love Baronda, from her post as executive assistant?

Is there truth to the rumor that Jamjam has been gathering barangay leaders to boost her emerging political dynasty?

Is it true that she would join forces with former Mayor Joe Espinosa III, whom she beat for the lone House seat in 2019?

I am not in the position to answer that.  Itanong ko muna kay Joe.



WOMEN, so I heard from the horse’s mouth, constitute 52 percent of the labor force at MORE Electric and Power Corp. (MORE Power), Iloilo City’s power-distribution utility.

If it sounds ironic, it’s because electricity evokes images of rugged men braving the danger of climbing posts and installing power lines.

But in the opinion of MORE Power President/CEO Roel Z. Castro, women are as good as men in the fields they have trained for.

March being celebrated as Women’s Month, let us review an episode of the company’s radio-TV show, “MORE Power at Your Service,” where host Joy Fantilaga featured Atty. Allana Mae A. Babayen-on, still single and truly a “babaye” proving her worth in a man’s world.

Babayen-on — MORE Power’s assistant vice president, legal officer, data privacy officer and assistant corporate secretary – graduated magna cum laude at the University of San Agustin and placed 4th in the 2016 bar exam.

Before joining MORE Power, Atty. Babayen-on had held the position of procurement assistant at the Iloilo Provincial Capitol.

After passing the bar, she was promoted to the position of provincial attorney.

What motivated her to transfer to a private corporation?  Normally, new lawyers go from private to public offices.

“I did not apply,” Allana told Joy. “I was invited by Sir Roel. It was a challenge to be in a male-dominated energy sector.”

Incidentally, four or half of the eight top-level positions at MORE Power are occupied by women.

“Women empowerment,” she said of this phenomenon that ends discrimination against women.

She clarified, however, that women empowerment does not always mean excelling in a profession.

“It’s to be what you want to be,” she said. “If you want to be a housewife and mother, it’s your choice that would make you feel fulfilled.

“Is it necessary to be a wife or mother to be fulfilled?” Joy followed up.

“No!” came the immediate answer. “You can be as happy as a woman with someone.”

Disagree or not, dear women, “someone” may not necessarily be a husband.


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