DR. JOAN ARANGO LAGUNDA
Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor
“What made me choose a career focused on lifting up our communities is that I have a chance to serve and see people and their conditions eventually change for the better. For me, there is great satisfaction in being of service to others”
- Commissioner Joan Lagunda
These were the words of a courageous and beautiful woman with attitude, a lady with class and a public servant by heart, Commissioner Joan Arango Lagunda, from Misamis Oriental, who firmly believes that poverty should not be an obstacle to achieve a better life and reach one’s dreams. This passionate conviction drives her to strive and accomplish more results in the service of the sector she loves.
JL, as she is fondly called by friends and family, is very determined to help the poor through her various outreach programs like the “Busog Lusog Talino Feeding Program” which aims to help the undernourished children ages 2-6 years old , “Free School Kits Distribution for the underprivileged children ”, and “Handog Tsinelas Project ” which aims to help kids from poor families to have access to good nutrition, adequate school supplies and slippers to be used in going to school.
Aside from these, she is also the founder of 1- APTO or Alliance of Public Transport Organizations, a nationwide grassroots coalition of tricycle drivers whose focus is to increase mainstream awareness and secure spaces for active consultation of small public transport drivers-operators in policy formulation and reviews related as accessibility of public transport. She was also a Council Member of Workers of the Informal Sector -National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC-WIS) from 2011-2015.
She was born on January 11 ,1981 in the Municipality of Balingoan, Misamis Oriental, a consistent scholar and honor student from elementary to college. She took her BS in Accountancy and Master of Public Service and Management at Capitol University in Cagayan de Oro City, and her Doctor of Management from the same school. She acquired her doctorate degree in Public Administration in Xavier University. Other special studies include: Governance and Leadership Institute in Xavier University Ateneo de Cagayan and Special Course in Urban Transport Planning and Management at the University of the Philippines in Diliman.
According to her, “Public service must be more than just doing a job efficiently and honestly. It must be a complete dedication to the people and to the nation. It is not just a job, it is a vocation. “Her reasons, being deep and profound, is that at an early age she learned how difficult life was. A daughter of a driver, who made every means possible to meet both ends. Coming from a modest family and a father whose means of livelihood as a driver was not enough to support the needs of the family, which made her strived hard to reach for her dreams. She said. “I don’t want to help only myself, but to help others who need guidance and if possible provide them the necessary trainings and education to uplift them from poverty”.
She was appointed as PCUP Commissioner on December 12, 2016. As a Commissioner, she works on the following policy program Agendas which cover pressing issues such as access to housing, decent work and sustainable livelihood, social welfare issues such as health, education, and social protection, peace, empowerment of the Urban Poor through participation and governance, and lastly training in disaster risk reduction management for the informal workers sector. For her, it is essential for the Urban Poor to understand that they are being empowered to ownership, and that anything provided to them is not a dole out, but a means for them to be able to stand on their own. Teaching the urban poor how to fish rather than giving them fish.
She also lobby for the passage of the Magna Carta of Workers in the Informal Economy which provides the rationale and recommendations for upholding the rights of workers in the informal economy, particularly the urban poor and other marginalized groups, by transitioning them to the formal economy towards the realization of decent work for all. The bills seek to provide security, social protection, training, education, entrepreneurial development to workers in the informal economy. This hopefully will add significantly to the policies already in place for the Urban Poor.
Commissioner JL is a prolific dreamer and achiever, and topping all her achievements in the academe and social advocacies, she is also a Social Entrepreneur who operates and owned JJ Express Travel and Tours, Joan Beauty Centre, and JJ Construction and Trading. To unwind from all the stress in life, she loves to go out bowling and at times to the firing range to hone her skills in shooting.
(Ronaldo A. Endaya, RPMD, 13 February 2017)