The national elections on May 2022 are looming and every day, we are bombarded with so many news articles about local and national candidates. Throw in fake news, memes, trolls, and social media feeds have become a frenzied mix of information that somehow resembles graffiti in my mind. It takes a lot of effort to sort through this political mudslinging to get to know the best choices among those presenting themselves. One of the lesser-known senatorial bets that we need to take a look into is Mommy Samira Gutoc #32. She is running under the Aksyon Demokratiko ticket with Yorme Isko Domagoso as the Presidential aspirant. Read more about her.
Who is Samira Gutoc?
Mommy Samira Gutoc, more popularly known as Ate Sam, has worked with an array of stakeholders in society for more than 20 years. She had been a journalist, speaker, consultant, environmentalist, trainer, and civil society leader. As a lawyer, she had also been a former legislator in the ARMM as well as a peace advocate. Moreover, she is a champion for the rights of women and those Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
In 2017, she was nominated as Inquirer’s Filipino of the Year for her expose on human rights violations in Marawi. She was awarded as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) for Socio-Cultural and Youth Development by the Junior Chamber International (JCI). Moreover, she is also recognized as one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims by The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre in Jordan.
Why si Ate Sam?
In the Senate, I believe that all regions and major people groups should be rightfully represented. Ate Sam will be the much-needed Muslim representation in the Senate.
But she is not just any woman. As you get to know her, you will realize that she has done so many things for her people and for women, most especially. She has a proven track record as a socio-civic worker as well as the voice and fighter of both women’s and children’s rights.
Currently, she heads “Ako, Bakwit”, for the rights of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). She is also a peace warrior who spearheads inter-faith dialogues.
Learn more about her and her accomplishments and why she is relevant in the new normal.
A Woman for Women Empowerment
Ate Sam was a key actor as a speaker and lobbyist in pushing policies on Gender and Development (GAD), Women in Peace and Security (LNAP), Women in the Army and PNP.
Currently, she highlights the value of women IDP organizers and leaders, and the protection of widows and orphans.
As if these are not enough, she also chaired the anti-crime watch movement Kazalimbago Movement since 20016. Its sister group Ranao Rescue Team (RRT), assisted in helping the rescue of Marawi priest Fr. Chito Soganub, among other hostages and thousands of trapped civilians during the May siege.
Moreover, Ate Sam is the spokesperson of Ranao Rescue Team which assisted the government and survivor families of missing and dead persons from the siege. Her efforts have been recognized as she was recently awarded the UN Development Programme N-Peace Award as a community organizer in Marawi City.
Towards highlighting the evacuees’ situation, their rights, and their humanitarian situation, she has been a resource person to the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and New York Times. She has also appeared on Al Jazeerah.
Ate Sam has been very active and vocal about the different advocacies she believes in. She was a former member of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission that drafted the Bangsamoro Basic Law. She was also a former director of Amanah Islamic Bank.
In the previous administration, she was appointed as OIC sectoral representative for women in the ARMM Legislative Assembly. She also served as a Member of the Philippine Army (PA) Multi -Sectoral Advisory Board.
In February 2020, she co-founded Ako Bakwit, Inc., a rights organization, where she is currently serving as the Chair. It aims to promote and protect the rights and welfare of the internally displaced people in our country.
Education and Personal Life
Samira Gutoc obtained her degrees in Communication and Masters in International Studies at the University of the Philippines (UP)-Diliman. She finished her law degree at the Arellano School of Law and acquired a fellowship program at the Oxford Center for Islamic Studies.
Samira is married to Engineer Abdul Maomit Tomawis and has a three-year-old son.
- Follow her on Facebook: SamiraGutocOfficial