Press Release
August 1, 2008


Isabela Gov. Grace Padaca has shown Filipinos that there will come a time when people who are victims of circumstances - born into poverty and violence - will triumph against seemingly insurmountable odds and usher in a new mainstream consciousness, Senator Mar Roxas said today.

The Liberal Party President said he has deep admiration and respect for Padaca, recently named as the Ramon Magsaysay Awardee for Government Service, the third Liberal leader honored with the prestigious recognition this decade.

"Grace Padaca is a heroine ahead of our time. Our country needs leaders like her, who shine valiantly during these turbulent times and inspire Pinoys to excel despite living in this time of despair and helplessness," he said.

"She did not allow poverty or her being stricken by polio to hold her back from pursuing personal excellence. As a public servant from the time she became the voice of Isabelanons during her stint as a radio journalist, she ignored threats to her life and won public adulation and support by doing the right thing at all times," he said.

Maria Gracia Cielo Magno Padaca was born on October 25, 1963 in Naguilian, Isabela, the second of six children of schoolteachers Bernardo and Amelia Padaca.

Coming from a poor family and stricken with polio at age 3, Grace pushed herself to excel in academics in order to obtain scholarship and ease the load of her parents. She was a valedictorian in elementary and high school and graduated Magna Cum Laude at Lyceum University in Manila in 1984.

Grace was radio commentator for Bombo Radyo in Cauayan, Isabela beginning 1986, receiving the station's Anchorperson of the Year award in 1993.. She was also one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men/Women of the country in 1992 and 1999.

In 2004, Grace Padaca was elected governor of Isabela, the first woman to assume the position. She was reelected as governor in the 2007 elections, an affirmation of the policy of reforms she started in Isabela politics. On December 5, 2007, she was conferred the International Women of Courage Award by US Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Kenney.

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