Lifestyle Asia

ON THE ROAD

When Berna Romulo Puyat was younger, stepping out into the public eye and working in government service had never been her plan. The daughter of former Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Romulo and Lovely Tecson, she grew up surrounded by adults immersed in the political sphere and came from a long line of Romulos who had devoted themselves to the nation. Everything young Berna had learned of that world had her determined to be a homemaker, like her mother, but life, as it often does, had different plans for her.

A graduate of the University of The Philippines with an undergraduate and master’s degree in economics, she was first an educator at the university’s School of Economics before the political bug bit her. In 2004, she ran for the position of First District Representative of Quezon City, an endeavor that ended in a loss but gave her the experience of connecting with constituents. She soon started the Botika ng Bayan program, which worked to provide medicine and generic drugs to the indigent.

Her next step was the position of Undersecretary for Special Concerns at the Department of Agriculture, a role she held for close to 12 years which allowed her to travel all over the Philippines, working on agrarian reform and hearing the issues of women who worked on the fields. “I was a stranger to my own country and before I entered the Department of Agriculture, I actually preferred going abroad,” reflects Berna, “But because of my job at the DA, I had the chance to not only appreciate our farmers but also see that the beauty

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