One of the leaders of the crusade against government corruption and a staunch promoter of social reforms in the Philippines is Maria Ana Consuelo Abad Santos Madrigal.

She is from a family of nation-builders and public servants. She is the granddaughter of a national hero and martyr, Supreme Court Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos. Her granduncle, Assemblyman Pedro Abad Santos, was the father and founder of the Socialist Party of the Philippines and a well-known defender of the poor and the oppressed. Her paternal grandfather is Senator Vicente Madrigal, a businessman., industrialist, and one of the Philippine Republic’s elected senators in 1949. Her aunt, Senator Pacita Madrigal-Gonzales—a senator during the Quezon and Magsaysay administrations—was the first Administrator of the Social Welfare Administration, the predecessor of today’s Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Even before she became a senator, she had set up numerous foundations to help the Filipino people. The Books-for-the-Barangay Foundation, Inc. has shipped more than P2.5 billion worth of books for Philippine public elementary and high schools. The Abad Santos Madrigal Foundation, Inc. empowers women and children through relevant and accessible livelihood programs. As of February 2006, its flagship project, the Basic Reflexology Training Program has trained more than 10,000 reflexology therapists nationwide. The ABLE Foundation, Inc., meanwhile, has been providing scholarships to poor deserving youth for years now. She also served as a Presidential Adviser for Children’s Affairs during the term of President Joseph Estrada.

Today, as Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Youth, Women and Family Relations, as well as the Committee on Cultural Communities, Senator Madrigal has filed bills that are responsive to the needs of women and youth in the areas of education, juvenile justice, gender equality, and women empowerment. Her main thrusts are anti-trafficking and anti-pornography measures to protect the rights of women and children. She has authored bills for the protection of the indigenous peoples and their ancestral domains. She has also filed bills to advance nationalist economics, advance the protection of the environment and prevent large scale exploitation and plunder.

Working for the welfare of the country and fighting for the human rights of the Filipino people is a tough job for a member of the Senate. In her struggle to fight for genuine reforms, she was subjected to the indignity of being at the receiving end of the Manila Police water cannons while attending a religious procession on 14 October 2005 along with other political activists. She has also initiated the filing of complaints before the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) against human rights abuses in the Philippines, and joined other advocates in filing cases before the Supreme Court of the Philippines to question the legitimacy of actions taken by the executive department on fundamental rights and liberties.

The Official Website of Jamby Madrigal
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