BAGUIO CITY, Mar. 17 (PIA) - - Women can be of equal footing with men if they put their heart and mind into as proven by Senior Superintendent Maria Sofia Mendoza, the first woman Regional Director of Bureau of Fire Protection in the Cordillera region.
Mendoza, a native of Barotac, Nuevo Iloilo, is a Civil Engineering graduate of Central Colleges of the Philippines, with Fire Safety Engineering Course in Far East Air Incorporated (FEATI) University and a degree holder of Masters in Public Administration.
She started her career in 1987 with a clerical job at the National Police Commission. Committed to public service, she entered the then Philippine Constabulary – Integrated National Police as fire service personnel in 1990, working her way to become a fire lieutenant at the office of the city fire marshal in Camp Crame, Quezon City.
Proving her skills and talents and commitment to work beyond office duties, Mendoza became a district fire marshal relentlessly leading fire incident response operations which earned her the nickname “Pink Panther” and sometimes “Panther 6”.
With her qualifications and commitment, Mendoza assumed directorship for administration and operations of the BFP National Headquarters.
In July 2014, she accepted to become the regional director of BFP – CAR believing that women can lead in improving the delivery of fire service to Cordillerans.
As BFP – CAR Regional Director, Mendoza consistently put up her plans and programs in action from capacity building and fast tracking of the promotion process for qualified personnel and capacity building to boost the morale of Cordilleran fire fighters, to ensuring that there are adequate fire stations, fire trucks and personnel for fast and effective delivery of service in the region.
With her goal of ensuring fire safety, from 37 fire stations in 2014, it is now up to 58 with 12 more on – going constructions. , which is on track with the BFP’s vision to have one in every municipality. CAR has 75 towns.
For fire trucks, there are now 67 from 41 when she assumed as the BFP CAR head.
To date, BFP - CAR has 691 strong uniformed personnel including 132 female fire fighters.
While she recognizes significant role of men in the fire service, Mendoza believes that the act of bravery and commitment to serve the people knows no gender as long as they put their heart and mind into it. Her goal is to convince women to take on the challenge.
As a start, she appointed Inspector Mary Grace Balao –as as the first woman fire marshal in the municipality of Kapangan, Benguet. She continues to encourage other women personnel of BFP – CAR to work hard in order to be promoted. (JDP/CCD with reports from Iren Borja/PIA-CAR/BFP CAR)