A typical “probinsiyana”, so to speak, one could hardly recognize this woman in a crowd – be it in a shopping mall or in a banquet. But unknown to many, this dainty, gentle and soft-spoken beauty, accented with an alluring smile, is the mayor of one of the most progressive towns and the country’s fourth richest municipality.
Behind her modest personality, Edna Padilla Sanchez is a remarkable woman who has shown great leadership and excellence through her years of commitment to public service in the municipality of Santo Tomas, Batangas.
Sanchez is the youngest in her family, and she hailed from Bambang, Nueva Vizcaya. She now resides at Barangay Santa Ana in Santo Tomas, Batangas, where she governs as the municipal mayor. Aside from being the highest-ranking official in the municipal government, she is also family-oriented and a doting mother to her children and grandchildren.
Long before Sanchez entered politics, she used to work as a nurse in different hospitals, both local and abroad. She also came from a family of politicians, as her father was once a barangay councilor and her uncle was a mayor.
In 2004, her political duties officially began when she was elected as mayor, until her term finished in 2010. She was re-elected for the same position in 2013, and is still the head of the municipal today.
As the prime mover of the municipality, Sanchez envisions “a peaceful city that continues to thrive for everyone that loves the Lord, their country, and the environment.” Her late husband and former governor, Armando Sanchez, also hoped for the promising future of Santo Tomas.
Her strategies in establishing a well-developed community include: supporting the people in need, good governance, employment and livelihood opportunities, guaranteeing that the service provided is adequate, an organized performance of duties and use of resource, a productive agriculture and proper care for nature, creating policies and its active implementation, and building enough infrastructures.
The initiatives under Mayor Sanchez’s administration focuses on services for the welfare of the citizens and community, wherein she also aspires for excellence, discipline, nature-care, abundance, and safety.
Sanchez carries out programs and projects for the benefit of the people and the whole Santo Tomas community, with agendas that are associated to her missions which seek to “provide the highest level of service for the people” and “pioneer progress hand in hand with the people”.
Being a professional nurse before her mayorship, Sanchez actively supports and prioritizes the health and well-being of the people. Free medical and dental consultations are offered under the health programs, as well as the issuance of free medicines. Vaccinations for the prevention of flu, measles, and others diseases are available under the Child Care Program and Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI). Pre-natal consultations for pregnant women are provided in the Maternal Care Program. The medical care services continue to give benefit to thousands of residents in Sto. Tomas.
One of Sanchez’s main objectives is to build “a bright future for the children and youth”. The EPS Youth Scholarship program has provided scholarship to 3,284 students from 2013 to 2018. Books, school supplies, and other educational assistance were given. In October 2018, over 500 participants joined the Color Fun Run activity, which gave benefit to seven elementary students who came from indigent families in Sto. Tomas. Other children, who were victims and survivors of abuse and neglect, were also given educational, medical, and financial assistance.
Another priority of Sanchez is to ensure that the “citizens are stable in terms of livelihood, environment, employment, and residency”. Under the municipal’s agricultural programs, numerous households have adopted the Food Always in the Home (FAITH) program, wherein seeds were distributed for food sufficiency. Schools and barangays participated in the Organikong Gulayan (Organic Gardening) project, which gave them hands-on experience in gardening and provided them with good benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables. The Agri-Park and Organic Learning Center was established to showcase organic practices, trainings, and seminars that are related to agriculture. The municipality of Sto. Tomas received a “Green Banner Award” in 2018 from the National Nutrition Council, which is considered as the highest honor given to a local government unit that has excellent implementation and management of nutritional programs. In the same year, the “Regional Organic Agriculture Achievers’ Award” was also presented to Sto. Tomas by the Department of Agriculture.
Farmers had trainings on Crop Production Technology, and were also given technical assistance in using the municipal’s farm tractor and corn sheller, which enabled them to plow more than a hundred hectares of land and unshell thousands of kilograms of corns. Massive vaccinations were done to small and large animals to control and prevent animal diseases.
The Employment Facilitation program helped thousands of job seekers to look for employment vacancies and referrals. Job fairs, trainings, pre-employment orientations, and a special program for the employment of students were also provided.
Several infrastructure projects per barangay were established under Sanchez’s administration. Infrastructure projects include: construction/rehabilitation of canals, concreting/widening and rehabilitation of roads, rehabilitation of multi-purpose halls and covered courts, construction/improvement of child care and development centers, installation/upgrading of water systems and electrical facilities, and construction/maintenance of schools. More infrastructure projects are still ongoing for 2019.
Under the leadership of Mayor Sanchez, the yearly budget of Sto. Tomas’ municipality gradually increased from 300M in the year 2013 to more than 900M for the year 2019. According to the Commission on Audit, Sto. Tomas is the Fourth Richest Municipality in terms of Assets for the year 2018. The municipal received the “Seal of Child Friendly Local Governance”, a regional award for 2018. Sto. Tomas also ranked 3rd place in Economic Dynamism for 1st and 2nd Class Municipalities in the 2018 Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index.
Under Mayor Edna P. Sanchez’s able leadership, the municipality of Santo Tomas has reached an unprecedented heights in terms of success and recognition. Still currently under her term, the municipality of Santo Tomas, Batangas is soon to become the fourth city of the Province of Batangas.