Pioneering Women’s Leadership in Politics

Trina Firmalo-Fabic, the Municipal Mayor of Odiongan, Romblon, Philippines, has been a driving force in local governance since her election in 2016, currently in her third term. Beyond her municipal duties, Trina actively participates in the ICLD’s Women Political Leadership programme. 

As Mayor, Trina has focused on revitalizing the administration and operations of the local government to deliver more effective and efficient services for citizens. Under her leadership, the municipality has garnered recognition and awards for outstanding programs in local governance, health and nutrition, economic competitiveness, and maintaining peace and order. Mayor Trina’s advocacies are centred around empowering women and youth, environmental conservation, and fostering good governance and transparency. 

The Journey to Leadership

Trina brings a wealth of experience to her role, having served as the Chief of Staff in the office of the governor of Romblon and as a Political Affairs Officer in the House of Representatives. She is also a licensed Environmental Planner. In addition to her responsibilities as municipal mayor, Trina serves as the vice chairperson of the Philippine Red Cross – Romblon Chapter. 

Her accomplishments include receiving the prestigious Dangal ng Bayan (Honor of the Country) Award, being named a 2023 Asia-Pacific Obama Leader, and notably, her participation in the ICLD Women’s Political Leadership programme. 

Trinas Story

Trina’s journey with ICLD began in 2023 when she applied and was selected for the Women Political Leadership programme from a pool of hundreds of applicants. 

In her own words: 

– I joined ICLD’s Women’s Political Leadership program to develop my feminist governance lens and learn from speakers and mayors from around the world. WPL allowed me to gain insight from fellow participants regarding experiences that were universal and similar, such as the struggle to contest for political seats, discrimination and double standards received as women leaders, and the fulfillment of being able to serve our constituents. There were also experiences and situations that were different, that allowed me to reflect on my own context.

Nso Delphine Laika, Cameroon, Trina Firmalo, Philippines, and Nomvuyo Patrici Mposelva, South Africa. Photo: ICLD

– I also adapted some best practices which I learned during the study visit in Sweden, such as cultivating partnerships and collaborations. I especially gained deeper insight about the principles of equity, participation, transparency, and accountability in governance, and about problem-oriented project planning and stakeholder analysis.

From Words to Action

But for Trina, leadership is about action. She chose to tackle the challenge of solid waste management in her municipality. 

– I was also interested in gaining skills and knowledge that could help me to tackle a particular concern in my municipality through the change process which program participants were tasked to identify. I chose the problem of solid waste management, particularly modifying citizens’ attitudes and perceptions regarding SWM practices. This is an ongoing process, and my learnings through the WPL program have been helping me in terms of the program implementation.

She has also initiated global conversations, such as with a mayor from Ukraine, to share the best practices for youth programs.

– A couple of months ago, a mayor from Ukraine, Viktoria, and I agreed to have our youth leaders meet online and share best practices for youth programs. We met online twice and were able to share from both sides about what was being done in our respective places. WPL has opened my eyes to what is possible, particularly in my municipality. I hope to be a champion for democracy, equity, and women’s rights.”

The Future of Democracy 

In February, Trina is looking forward to participating in the final workshop of the ICLD programme and continuing her journey as an advocate for democracy, justice and women’s rights. Her vision extends beyond Odiongan – she hopes to be a source of inspiration for democratic ideals and an advocate for positive change.

#WomenInPolitics #LeadershipJourney #ICLD #WomenPoliticalLeadership #DemocracyChampion