Hon. Maria Olivia B. Pascual Babaeng Maaasahan

February 28, 2019
Maria Olivia B. Pascual
Maria Olivia B. Pascual

“I attribute my success as leader and mother to my husband, Mayor Florante C. Pascual, who has always been supportive of my undertakings.”

Dependable, reliable, consistent – just few words to describe this lady legislator of Cagayan and former local chief executive of Lal-lo. Those words fit Honorable Maria Olivia Bautista Pascual to the monicker given by the people to describe how passionate she is in her performance of her duties and responsibilities.

Indefatigable is she as she never runs short of ideas when she initiates a program or activity. She is never satisfied with “Pwede na” as she wants quality in everything she does. Blame it to her events management background where every act done where the law of primacy must be observed – do it well the first time as there is no second time around. Unlike in movie-making where take two, three and more is allowed, there is only take one for BM Olive.

Affirmation and satisfaction from her programs provide her the more motivation to be better and better in serving the people and family. A multi-tasker, she shuffles home and office work well – thanks to the perks of digital technology.

Being a career woman did not compromise her role as a mom to five. Alanis, her youngest, says “She’s simply a SUPERMOM. She’s my hero because she always got my back in everything I do and she attends to me anytime, anywhere!! One time she’s in the province for work, and in an instant she’s back home to spend quality time with us. Even when she’s away, she never fails to make us feel we are loved and cared for. She’s also the most understanding and patient mom in the world, no doubt.”

Her children still felt that they are her top priority. “Mama Olive is an all-around Wonder Woman. She is my role model, and just to be half the woman she is would be an achievement for me. As a mom, she is very devoted to her children. She is my number one cheerleader and supports me in whatever dream I want to pursue. She’s very selfless, and puts her kids before herself – even if that means losing the last slice of dessert or running out of charge on her power bank because she lent it to us before she could use it herself. She is also my best friend, someone who knows how to make me laugh and gives me the tough love I need. I’m thankful I get to call her my mom (or Inday BM)”, says Coleen, her second youngest.

Recently married Abegale adds: “Mama is simply the best mom for me. She is not perfect, as no one is, but she is more than I could ever ask for. She is understanding and patient –  how could she have managed to bring up 5 kids with different personalities if she wasn’t. She is very supportive –  that’s why she let us pursue our own dreams and do what makes us happy. She is selfless –  sharing her time, energy, and wisdom not only to our family but also to the people she chose to serve. Most of all, she pours her heart out and loves us in a way that makes us feel complete, like nothing else matters. And even if we are far apart or living separate lives, it feels great to know that we’ll always have that mother’s love, warm hugs and kisses, that only she can give. She is truly admirable for all that she’s done and all that she is.”

Women’s Journal interviewed this petite, witty woman whose public service is commendable. Get more about her as you read through her remarks to the questions posed.

Women’s Journal (WJ): Describe your typical day at home and at work

Maria Olivia B. Pascual (MOBP): I am an early riser. Usually I am up at four in the morning. After praying, I take a cup of coffee. Then, I monitor what’s prepared for the morning meal. The evening before, I already instruct the house help what is to be done the next day. After eating, I prepare myself for office. I manage my time well as I want to set an example to people around.

While on the road going to the office, I monitor via cellular phone the activities of my children – ask them what is to be done for the day, their needs and other concerns. When my physical presence is required, I plane in to Manila. I am a hands-on mom, so to speak.

In the office, I am a methodical person. I set guidelines on how things are done, set quality standards, and arrange for reasonable deadlines. I may be strict but I want to tell my staff to be responsible employees. My yardstick for performance “quality”. In the beginning, I give my staff assistance in their task, then I empower them to use their creativity in doing their work. I find my staff appreciate these things I ask them to follow. Later, they find their job a routine but creative.

In the evening, upon returning home, I check what is in store for the family dinner. I also instruct househelp the morrow’s activities and what to prepare. Credit to my dependable and ever reliable assistants at home, I could confidently leave to them the execution of almost whatever I instruct.

Mealtime is family time. As we enjoy the food, my husband, my son Oliver, and I, talk about political issues, alongside any matter that pops out of the blue. It is at the dining table that we float ideas for the townspeople’s welfare. Catching the latest news is sometimes done as dinner goes on. Retiring to bed is usually at 11 p.m.— just after watching the news and my favorite TV series (Halik), are done!

On weekdays, I tend my plants. I love cacti and succulents. Of course, I find relaxation and peace when I see my ornamental plants in bloom. They are therapeutic. This addiction always finds place in my Instagram and Facebook!

WJ: What were the defining points or milestones of your family and career life up to this point?

MOBP: When I was young, being a stewardess was my goal. Owing to height requirements, I had to shift to Hotel and Restaurant Management. Initially, I worked in restaurants as supervisor/manager like Jollibee Foods Corporation, SM’s Café Elysee and Chateau 1771. Then I started being a businesswoman. I established the MOB Pascual Trading and Olive Pascual Management and Consultancy, a consultancy firm engaged in social and corporate events. At present, I am a franchisee of 4 branches of European salon, DAVID’S.

I never imagined to be a political leader. However, circumstances motivated me to join the Lal-lo mayoralty race in 2007. I was blessed to win, and from there, my political career began. As my hotel and restaurant management know-how was effectively applied in local governance, the stint as local chief executive was not very difficult. I could say that it’s also because I had been a politician’s wife and his active supporter from 2001 to 2007 (Mayor Anteng was a mayor then), it became easier to learn the duties of my office. It dawned in me that I could be a good political leader. That was the reason I ran and won the seat of a Board Member representing the First Congressional District of Cagayan. As my pet programs on Health, Sanitation, Technology, and Population and Tourism were given to chair, I found the task of a legislator rewarding and satisfying.

As I focus on job as political servant, I see to it that I do not neglect my mother and spouse roles. Though they stay in Metro Manila, my children get in touch with me through the mobile phone. Thanks to social media apps, I make use of them really well! But, I regularly visit them to check on their welfare. Especially, I can’t get absent on their special days. God is too good because I can’t be happier seeing where my children stand today. I am happy that my son Oliver is the incumbent vice mayor of Lal-lo; Patricia is an entrepreneur; Abegale is a Hongkong-based bank Executive Vice President; Coleen is a college graduate from La Salle University and is presently pursuing a master’s degree at New York University; and Alanis is a UP economics student. I attribute my success as leader and mother to my husband, Mayor Florante C. Pascual, who has always been supportive of my undertakings.

WJ:  Mention the highlights of your tenure as a public servant.

MOBP: My achievements as a Mayor for three years goes hand in hand with the fact that I was able to sustain the programs initiated by my husband, Mayor Teng, and that he also pursued mine when he again took over the leadership in 2010 to present.

During my term as Municipal Mayor of Lal-lo, I strengthened the solid waste management program then launched by Mayor Anteng, dubbed as “Lal-lo Against Waste in any Form Now” (LAWIN). It resulted to the establishment of a sanitary landfill and a materials recovery facility. It has implemented the “no-segregation-no collection policy’’ to instill awareness of residents of segregation of solid wastes at source.

Another sustainable project I introduced in the municipality is the ECOSAVERS Club, a school-based solid waste management program wherein elementary and high school students are encouraged to collect solid materials that could be recycled or re-used. On scheduled collection day, these materials are weighed and converted into cash points and recorded in one’s individual passbook. At the end of the year, the participants redeem their cash points into materials or goods that are beneficial to them. The effective management of this program resulted to the town’s garnering a runner-up placement in the Philippine Garbology Award. Sustained after my term, this program has been recognized with Lal-los’ award as Hall of Famer in the field of waste management.

Our initiative of a comprehensive municipal nutrition program undertakes health interventions from conception to childhood of children. The sustainability of programs made the Local Government of Lal-lo a multi-awardee in health and nutrition. In 2005, Lal-lo, headed by Mayor Anteng received its first ever Green Banner Award from the Provincial Nutrition Council after placing second Most Outstanding Municipality in the Province of Cagayan. In 2006, it was adjudged as the Most Outstanding Municipality in the province thereby receiving another Green Banner Award. In the same year, the Municipality received its first Green Banner Award from the National Nutrition Council by placing third Most Outstanding Municipality in the whole of Cagayan Valley Region. The following year, upon my assumption, it placed second in the entire region. In 2009, the LGU was again adjudged as the Most Outstanding Municipality in the Province of Cagayan and in the entire Region 02 following the nutrition evaluation for calendar year 2

008. In 2010, LGU Lal-lo was again adjudged as the Most Outstanding Municipality in the region after the 2009 evaluation. Came 2010 under the leadership of Mayor Anteng, Lal-lo was again adjudged as the Most Outstanding Municipality in the region for the third time thereby receiving its first Consistent Regional Outstanding Winner in Nutrition (CROWN) Award from the National Nutrition Council. Lal-lo was able to achieve the Consistent Regional Outstanding Winner in Nutrition (CROWN) Second Year Maintenance Award. These consistent awards registered the municipality as Nutrition Honor Awardee (NHA) in 2014. The NHA is the highest award given by the Department of Health-National Nutrition Council to Local Govenment Units.

As a provincial legislator, I am the principal author of 43 ordinances and co-author of 30 ordinances; 203 resolutions as major sponsor and 228 resolutions as co-sponsor. The themes of the ordinances are along health and safety, maternal and child nutrition, tourism, solid waste management, gender and development, environmental protection, agricultural development, and public governance. This record of accomplishments paved the way for the Outstanding Local Legislator, accorded by Superbrands International in 2018.

My civic engagement as President of the Federation of Rural Improvement Clubs in Lal-lo has pooled the talents and resources of rural women as we engaged in varied livelihood activities, enabling them to derive additional income for their family. Our citronella essential-based products have not only provided them a subsidiary source of income but also a big boost to the “fight dengue” program of the municipality. The efforts of the women group were acknowledged by the SUSI Community Service Award given in 2018 by the Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives.

WJ:  How would Hon. Maria Olivia B. Pascual be like seven years from now?

MOBP: I imagine myself still as civic leader as I have proven my worth as Chairperson of the Cagayan Valley Regional Tourism Council, Inc. (CVRTC), President of the Federated RIC of Lal-lo and Cagayan Chapters, President of the Rotary Club of Nueva Segovia, officer of the National Federation of Women’s Clubs of the Philippines, Girls Scouts of the Philippines-Cagayan Chapter, and the Provincial Board Members League of the Philippines Region 02, and member of the ZONTA Club of Tuguegarao City.

As a woman, I understand the concerns of women. Harnessing their talents and time to empower them to be a more productive member of the community is both financially rewarding and affirming. The company of women with similar motivation and enthusiasm to participate in rural development and socially-relevant livelihood activities is enough psychic reward for me to devote my time with the women group.

WJ:  In conclusion, relate your personal wishes and professional goals for your family and for your community in your next term of office.

MOBP: Of course, every mother desires that all the children are successful in their chosen career. I hope that the remaining two children in school will complete their studies and will find a good job after graduation. And equally important if given another chance to serve the people, I would like to pursue development programs that redound to the general welfare, especially the disadvantaged and the underserved sectors of the society. I would like still to be a part of the women’s groups and work with them as we pursue worthy projects that benefit not only them but the whole community.