PORAC, Pampanga—After the May 9 elections, Councilor Michelle “Man-man” Bengco of this town now holds the distinction as first-ever woman member of the Sangguniang Bayan to complete the maximum three-term limit for the post.
First elected town councilor in the 2016 National and Local Elections, Bengco, at only 32 years old, is on her way to become the only lady municipal legislator to complete three consecutive terms of office.
Not only did Bengco notch her third term in last week’s election, she also snatched the highest number of votes among the 24 candidates squaring-off for eight council slots.
Bengco, whose career in government service began when she won a seat in their barangay council in 2013, garnered a total of 28,519 votes in last week’s polls. This was significantly higher than in the elections of 2016 and 2019, when she received total votes of 21,650 and 15,505, respectively.
“Hindi ko po expect na mag-number 1. Ang hiningi ko po ay matapos ang term ko pero doble po ang binigay ni Papa God sa ‘kin at ng mga Poraqueño, naging number 1 po ako (I did not expect to be No. 1 councilor. I only asked for a chance to finish my three terms but God and the Poraqueños gave me more—they made me Number 1),” Bengco said.
Bengco, the middle child among three siblings born to parents, Norman and Veronica Bengco, is an AB Communication Arts graduate, Major in Advertising and Public Relations, at the Holy Angel University. Prior to her stint in politics, she was the corporate secretary of private firm, JRCB Enterprises Inc.
Though making a living in the private sector, the Bengco family is not new in public service. The patriarch, Norman, has been helping poor Poraqueños even in his private capacity.
This ignited Bengco’s advocacy to serve the people by seeking a barangay council post and, eventually, a municipal council seat.
“Advocacy ko po is makatulong sa mga Poraqueño. Kasi nakita ko sa tatay ko, kahit wala siya sa politics, tumutulong na siya. Kaya sinuportahan niya ako bilang councilor ay para maging malawak at madami pang Poraqueño ang matulungan lalo na sa social service kung saan ito ang aking chairmanship,” Bengco explained.
In the municipal council, Bengco buckled down to work, championing the cause of indigent members of the communities. She was instrumental in the passage of ordinances such as the Protection of Children’s Code.
She also supported the approval of the request of Mayor Jing Capil to increase the amount for burial assistance from P1,000 to P10,000; hospital bills from P10,000 to P50,000; and, assistance to cancer and dialysis patients from P3,000 to P5,000 per quarter or P20,000 annually.
In her third and final term as councilor, Bengco vows to further strengthen social services, under the committee that she currently chairs.
“Mas lalong papatibayin ang Social Services kung saan yung mga senior citizen na di nabibigyan from national na pension sila ang bibigyan pension na galing sa Munisipyo natin. Isusulong ang one-time cash assistance sa mga nakakatanda edad 93 taon pataas. At siyempre ipagpatuloy ang pagbabago sa ‘Bayung Porac’,” Bengco said.