Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is a prominent economist and political leader. She is best known for serving as the fourteenth President of the Philippines, only second female president of the nation. She currently serves on the House of Representatives of the second district of Pampanga.
Arroyo was born into a political family on 5th April, 1947, in San Juan, Philippines. She enrolled in the Assumption Convent to attain her early education, graduating in 1964 with the title of a valedictorian. After studying at Georgetown University for two years, Arroyo moved to Assumption College to complete her Bachelors degree in Economics, eventually realizing this feat in 1968 with a magna cum laude. She then pursued both a Masters and a Ph.D. in Economics from Ateneo de Manila University and the University of Philippines respectively, and later took teaching positions at both these institutes. Arroyo was later appointed head of the Economics Department at the Assumption College.
Arroyo entered the realm of politics in 1987, utilizing her skills as an economist. She initially assumed the role of an assistant secretary, and became undersecretary two years later, overseeing the trade and industrial affairs under the reign of then President, Corazon Aquino. She held executive directorship of the Garments and Textile Export division, and her tenure saw the garments industry deliver the highest net earnings in the country.
In 1992, she ran for Senate, and was elected in her first try. After a reelection in 1995, Arroyo managed to accumulate 16 million votes to maintain her senatorship, a record breaking figure in Philippine’s history. During her time in office, she passed 55 laws for better economic and social governance. This landed her multiple awards for being Outstanding Senator.
Arroyo created another record in 1998 when she gathered 13 million votes on her way to the Vice Presidency; this was the largest number of votes in history amassed by any candidate during either the presidential or the vice presidential elections. In light of her impressive work in the past, then President Joseph Estrada designated to her the office of the Secretary of Social Welfare and Development.
Arroyo soon left her post as Secretary in 2000 as she resigned from the cabinet in light of the corruption charges against the then president, and instead opted to focus her efforts towards gaining presidency of the nation herself. After a number of street demonstrations against Estrada in 2001, the Supreme Court declared the presidential office vacant. This paved the way for Arroyo, and she was named the President of the Philippines by Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. on 20th January 2001.
In 2004, Arroyo won the elections to maintain her presidency and was awarded a lengthier, 6 year term. The election proceedings however were controversial, as her win was marred by allegations of rigging. Arroyo however, fulfilled her duties as president till the end of her tenure on 30th June, 2010. She was then nominated to the House of Representatives, becoming only the second president to enter a lower office after their reign. She declined the opportunity to become speaker of the House, instead opting for a more passive role. In her very first days at the House however, Arroyo sought to make alterations to the existing constitution by filing a resolution calling for amendments.