Angelina “Angie” Ludovice-Katoh's life is testimony that one of the best ways to hone leadership is to subject it to adverse conditions.
Angie has never had an easy life, but it is a life distinguished by achievement and leadership even from the start. Born to an impoverished family in Tagansule, Malalag, Davao del Sur, Angie did not grow up with much by way of material comforts. And yet, she was consistently at the top of her class – graduating valedictorian in grade school, and first honor in high school. With her sterling academic credentials, Angie could have aspired for and obtained a more comfortable life in the capital, but her days as a student activist and campus leader have instilled in her the passion to work with those who have less.
After her college studies, she became a trade union organizer and a community facilitator, working closely with labor unions, primarily through the National Federation of Labor (NFL). As a mass leader, she spoke passionately about labor rights and stood at picket lines to defend these rights when under incursion even at the risk of personal safety and liberty. At the height of labor disputes in Mindanao in the 80s, she was arrested for defending the workers from a group of armed men who tried to break the picket line. Angie spent a few days in prison and would have been kept there, had it not been for the intervention of influential religious leaders in Mindanao who spoke on her behalf.
From 2001-2011, Angie was the Executive Director of the Alternative Center for Organizational Reforms and Development, Inc. (ACORD), a non-government organization dedicated towards pushing for policy reforms in governance so that spaces may be created for the marginalized. She championed in particular the cause of the urban poor and women workers in the informal economy. All these she did in the bosom of her beloved Mindanao, moving fearlessly in places such as Davao, Cotabato and Zamboanga, spreading the message of peace and paticipatory governance in a land wracked by conflict.
When AKBAYAN was formed in 1998, Angie was one of its founding members, finding in the organization an interface with her personal life-values.
While Angie would have preferred to stay under the radar, her efforts did not go unrecognized even on the national level. She is the recipient of several awards given by various bodies, the most prestigious being the Bayi Citation for Exemplary Women in Politics in Governance which had also been previously given to Governor Vilma Santos-Recto and Former Congresswoman Risa Hontiveros. In further recognition of her contributions, she was designated this year as Commissioner of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor.
Indeed, Angie as AKBAYAN's fearless daughter from the South will bring to Congress what the Mindanaoans truly aspire – gender equality, transformative governance, peace and progress for Mindanao.