The Army embraces inclusivity — AFP’s first woman spokesperson | The Howie Severino Podcast
  • 2 months ago
Col. Francel Padilla is accustomed to being a pioneer. She was among the first women to graduate from the Philippine Military Academy. Now as the armed forces' first woman spokesperson, she has seen many barriers fall as women soldiers are now serving even in combat roles.

Col. Padilla has become the most visible face of the Philippine military at a crucial time, when the country is pivoting from the insurgency to the external threat of China. As an expert on cybersecurity, she brings an uncommon skill set to her new role.

She talks to Howie Severino about the challenges of being a woman in a male-dominated institution. She opens up about having to start a sensitive mission guarding a visiting head of state just after losing her husband, a fellow PMA graduate, in a helicopter crash. "Grieving is a lifelong journey," she says in a candid moment, sharing how she raised two young sons in the wake of their loss.

Soon after assuming her position as spokesperson, Col. Padilla had to field questions about former President Duterte's effort to rile up the military against the current administration. "We are professional, united, and non-partisan," she assures. "We do not want to break the trust of the people."