BIGGER PICTURE: Running in the family

Trade Union of the Philippines (TUCP) Party-List Rep. Raymond Democrito Cañete Mendoza and Cotabato Province Third District Rep. Samantha Taliño-Santos

The election of Trade Union of the Philippines (TUCP) Party-List Rep. Raymond Democrito Cañete Mendoza as the new House Deputy Speaker and Representative Samantha Taliño Santos as the House Assistant Majority Floor Leader received positive response from the Cotabateños as the province now has a strong representation in Congress.

Mendoza is the husband of Cotabato Province Governor Emmylou “Lala” Taliño-Mendoza and Santos is the governor’s daughter.

Mendoza took his oath before Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez on July 26, 2022.

The father-daughter tandem is anticipated to represent the Province of Cotabato to Congress to advocate issues and concerns besetting the province that needs congressional interventions that include peace-building initiatives, labor, disaster, environment, education, and health.

The Province of Cotabato is a landlocked province in the Philippines located in the Soccsksargen region in Mindanao. Its capital is the City of Kidapawan with some of its barangays under the jurisdiction of the nearby Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

Mendoza obtained his Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of San Carlos-Cebu and passed the Bar in 1988. His passion for the labor sector also led him to pursue studies in this field earning certificates from the International Labor Organization (ILO) and completing the Financial Analysis Program for Labor Leaders in Turin, Italy in 1995 and Occupational Safety and Health Course also in Turin, Italy in 2000.

He started his career in the labor sector as an Executive Assistant of the Associated Labor Unions –TUCP in 1995 and became the national vice president for education and information in 2001 and acquired the designation of national vice president for National and International Affairs in 2008. He is currently the national vice president for Mindanao affairs.

At the House of Representatives, he is the chairman of the Committee on Poverty Alleviation with the Magna Carta of the Poor as the flagship bill, which ensures better targeting of resources intended for the poorest of the poor. It also identifies the basic rights of the poor which are the right to food, the right to employment and livelihood, the right to quality education, the right to shelter, and the right to basic health services and medicines.

Mendoza has authored bills pending first reading that include House Bill (HB) 01512 or an act strengthening workers’ right to security of tenure and criminalizing labor-only contracting, which he filed on July 7, 2022; HB 01513 or an act strengthening the rights of government employees to self-organization; HB 01515 or an act instituting the Magna Carta of Filipino seafarers; and HB 01514 or an act providing civil service eligibility and permanent appointment to all government casual and contractual employees under job orders and contract of service.

Meanwhile, Rep. Santos, a soft-spoken but strong-willed and empowered woman, did not blink and accepted the responsibility as one of the leaders of the House.

A neophyte politician, Santos has her mother’s tenacity and compassion to serve the Cotabateños with service anchored on the governor’s “Serbisyong Totoo” program.

In line with Santos’ priority to establish mechanisms that are responsive to the needs of the people, as well as champion legislations that are inclusive and grounded, she filed the following bills and resolutions: House Bill No. 2572- an act establishing the Office for Clan Conflict Prevention; House Bill No. 2573- National Religious Freedom Appreciation Day Act; House Bill No. 2574- an act establishing the Cotabato sports training center; House Bill No. 2575- National Commission on Disability Act; House Resolution No. 95- a resolution urging the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to review issues regarding the unavailability of all racks and major strands in public and private schools nationwide; House Resolution No. 96- a resolution urging the Environmental Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Region 12 and the Department of Trade and Industry to provide technical skills training fir the integration of a Comprehensive Waste Mana gement Program for the Province of Cotabato; House Resolution No. 97- a resolution urging the Department of Interior and Local Government to encourage all local government units to issue Anti-Discriminatory Ordinance/Policy on the basis of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identification and Expression (SOGIE); House Resolution No. 98- a resolution urging the Department of Health and the Philippine Council for Mental Health to conduct an assessment on the compliance of local government units to Republic Act No. 11036; and House Resolution No. 99- a resolution urging the National Commission on Senior Citizens to fast track the crafting of a Harmonized National Program for Senior Citizens.

Inspired by her mother, Santos aimed to excel in school. She finished her primary education at the University of the Immaculate Concepcion (UIC) in Davao City and her secondary at Abba’s Montessori (Complete name and location).

She applied both at the University of Sto. Tomas (UST) and at the University of Melbourne in Australia for her college degree.

In 2014 after graduating from secondary education, Santos flew to Australia to take up a one-year foundation course to ensure her entry to the university. During her time at the University of Melbourne, she took up two major courses, Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Bachelor of Arts in Sociology.

In 2018, she fulfilled her goal of finishing her studies in the field she always desires. She graduated with flying colors and two degrees tacked on her wings.

Like her mom, 25-year-old Santos is congenial and it interests her to talk and listen to ordinary people because she knows she’ll learn one or two important life lessons from them.

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