Insights

The Gwen Garcia You Never Knew

November 1991, Ormoc City was hit by a flashflood that killed more than 5,000.

Gwen Garcia, now governor of Cebu, was then a private businesswoman living in Ormoc. The flashflood left the city with no means of communication, no power, no transportation, but Gwen found a way to communicate using their family’s UHF radio and got hold of then Cebu Governor Lito Osmeña.

Cebu was the first to respond and to send help.

Gwen provided situation reports to media outlets in Cebu and the rest of the country. She was Ormoc’s only link to the outside world as the city sat silent and dark after it was almost wiped out. Her voice over the airwaves became the beacon of hope for residents who only had transistor radios.

Even before she thought of running for public office, Gwen Garcia already showed traits of a good leader and a good a crisis manager. She was resilient and strong yet compassionate. Twelve years later, she became the first woman governor of Cebu Province.

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