ANGELES CITY’S Executive Assistant IV Reina Manuel is more than just a sparkling jewel. Some jewels come from way, way deeper – more than 650km (about the distance from Angeles City to Cebu City) into the earth. Tiny imperfections in such jewels give us clues about what’s happening in the earth’s hidden geological layers. Just the word jewel invokes luxury, desirability and toughness and it parallels the ubiquitous Reina Manuel—public servant and momprenuer— rolled into one. For Reina Manuel, each Angeleno is of utmost importance and that’s why she looks for perfection habitually when crafting a new project for the city of Angeles. “This can be attributed to the vigorous support of Mayor Carmelo ‘Pogi’ Lazatin Jr., Chief Adviser and Tactician IC Calaguas, department heads, chief of offices, and my fellow public servants in the city government,” Manuel emphasized.
From the very beginning I have considered her one of the WHIPs (Women in High Intelligence and Power) of the city. It’s unbecoming a gentleman to reveal her age, therefore, it is safe to say she is 10 years younger for her beauty and 10 years older for her wit and intelligence. She is the darling of the Angeles City Hall employees and people from all walks of life. Part of her nature to reveal—candidly and conspicuously—her sincere gesture of appreciation, sympathy, and accessibility anytime of the day including weekends. Indeed, public service at its best!
“Increasing the proportion of women in public institutions makes them more representative, increases innovation, improves decision-making and benefits whole societies,” António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General, International Women’s Day 2017.
Diversity, including equal access of women to leadership roles, is not only the right thing to do but also the most productive. Female participation in public administration and in decision-making roles are positively correlated with economic development as well as gender equality in society. It also suggests that women’s equal participation and leadership creates a conducive environment for a better and more effective government. Where there are more women in power, there is better governance, and where there is good governance, there are more women in power.
Let me cite some of Reina Manuel’s initiatives anchored with the priority programs of Mayor Lazatin. Urban greening, livelihood and entrepreneurship, women’s empowerment, child’s welfare, senior citizen’s rights and welfare, education, health, arts and culture, heritage preservation and beautification, animal protection, beauty and wellness and more baby projects in the pipeline. She quipped, being an Executive Assistant IV, isn’t about money or glamour. It’s about providing valuable support to every Angeleno. But one thing is for sure, being an EA is a unique position and it takes a unique set of skills, innate traits like compassion and empathy. She admitted however it isn’t easy, it isn’t always fun and pleasing. But, with the right tools and positive attitude, it can be fulfilling and rewarding because of the rare opportunity to change people’s lives for the better.
Being a mompreneur, on the other hand, Manuel described it as an exciting and liberating endeavor. She can valet and harmonize her business ideas in public service to empower single moms and be self-reliant. “Many people have ideas for a business or product, but only a few take the leap and open a new business. While being a mompreneur is extremely difficult, it has its benefits to cultivate,” Manuel opined.
She has encountered empowered women, single moms, and even battered women who quitted their jobs, started their own businesses and eventually love being in control of their own destiny. She also encouraged dedicated craftsmen to turn their hobbies into careers. “It fills with pride to watch them grow and explore different methods of creating unique handicrafts,” Manuel said.
One of the advantages of this health crisis is the emergence of small and medium businesses in Angeles City who are the backbone of the local economy. “And I love helping them in any way I can to boost their businesses,” Manuel shared. ”And I love being a mompreneur and public servant at the same time because I am able to set my own schedule around my family life. Being a busy mom of two, I have the flexibility to schedule my activities around my children’s hobbies, school schedules and doctor appointments.”
Finally, Manuel imparts an inspirational and motivational message which coincides with the Mothers’ Day celebration: “Being a mompreneur is great because you literally own your destiny and allows you to create your own definition of success. You can create something from nothing because the possibilities are endless and you are in control. Control may have negative connotations, but to me, it’s something beautiful and powerful. You don’t have to be a genius or skyrocket scientist. Simply study what other successful people have done and implement it into your business and then turn around and mentor others on the best practices that worked for you. As a mompreneur, I have set the best example for my children, Bella and Miguelle. I want them to know that life is tough and challenging, but if you work hard and focus, then the outcome can be better than you ever expected. The best part? Being able to say MY RULES, MY COMPANY, MY DESTINY.”