Sunday, October 28, 2007

Josefa Llanes-Escoda

Josefa Llanes Escoda as a teacher, a social worker, suffragette but more known for her services during the World War II and as the founder of Girl Scout of the Philippines.
She was born on September 20, 1898 in Dingras, Ilocos Norte to Gabriel LLanes and Mercedes Madamba. She finished elementary in Dingras as a valedictorian and high school in Laoag. She went to Manila and entered Philippine Normal School and finished as a teacher. She moved her family to Manila after her father died. She teached in Jose Rizal College, University of Manila, Far Eatern university and Philippine Women's University while studying at night for her high school teacher's certificate in the University of the Philippines.
After she graduated in UP, she became a social worker for the American Red Cross. She was later sent to New York, America in 1925 for an intensive social worker training. She was the Philippine representative for Women's International League for Peace. There she met her husband, Antonio Escoda. In the same year she received her master's degree in social work granted by the Columbia University.
When she returned to the Philippines, she teached in UP and in UNiversity of Santo Tomas while serving as the editor of the Health Messenger, the magazine of Tubercolosis Commission of the Bureau of Health.
She also became the executive secretary of the Philippine Anti-Leprosy Society.
She joined the suffrage movement for the Filipino women's right to vote. She became the secretary of the General Council of Women. In December 7, 1933 women's vote was given to the Filipinas through Act 4112.
She waslater sent again to America to study Girl Scout and upon returning in the country sheestablished the Girl Scouts of the Philippines in 1937.
As a social worker, she established the Boy's Town for street children and free nursery schools.
When World War II broke, she together with her husband joined the Volunteer Social Aid and helped the FIlipino and American soldiers. She was one of those who helped the prisoners of the Death March and the prisoners in UST and in Los BaƱos.
Her husband was captured by the Japanese in June 1944 andwasimprisoned in Fort Santiago. She was also imprisoned in August and was tortured and interrogated for information but remained strong and silent. She was cleared of any charges by the Japanese and was offered to be freed but chose to remain with her husband. When the greater American force arrived in Luzon to free it from the Japanese. Battles occured in Manila and Josefa was last seen in Far Eastern University still captive of the Japanese.It was believed that she was executedby the Japanesein Chinese Cemetery.

Josefa Llanes-Escoda - an Ilocano pride. Her brilliance, compassion and patriotism is an emphasis how a Filipina women can greatly contribute in the protection, welfare and progress of a society.

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