Young, civic-minded businesswoman Alelee Aguilar Andanar from Las Piñas wants to advance the welfare of Bisaya Filipinos.
Alelee is first nominee of Bisaya Gayud (BG) Partylist. She has been an entrepreneur for the past 20 years, but she has found her calling in public service early. Not a surprise as she was raised in a family of public servants.
This remarkable young woman has long been reaching out to the marginalized sector in Las Piñas City and Siargao Islands in Surigao del Norte while pursuing her own entrepreneurial ventures. She is the head of the Nene Aguilar Foundation, whose main thrust is to provide scholarship and educational allowances to Las Piñas City’s indigent students.
“Every day, our home is open to many people seeking help in various situations. I believe it’s a privilege to be able to help them,” says Alelee. “I am happy and very proud that I was raised by parents who taught me to lead and made me realize early on how important it is to help others.”
Alelee is a member of Sons of Siargao which was founded by her husband, Sec. Martin Andanar. When in Siargao with her family, she makes sure to bring with her books they have collected from donation drives they initiated with their relatives in Australia. This was a small advocacy, started in 2006, that helped put up mini-libraries for children in villages in Siargao.
She has also made her generous donations and services for the cause of the Philippine Cancer Society.
In 2019, she decided to work as a volunteer for the communications and media department of the city government of Las Piñas. She also continued extending help to Siargaonons in the town of Sta. Monica, Surigao del Norte.
Alelee admits that her interest in politics has always been in her heart, but it has since come to the fore since she personally witnessed how local government units grappled to make ends meet for their constituents. She was also a witness to the struggles of poor families whose lives were greatly affected by the pandemic.
“We’ve been going around lately. But no matter how tiring it gets, when you see that the people you are engaged with are happy, it makes you want to do more for them,” she says.
Hence, Alelee is now taking on a new path, advocating for the welfare of every Bisaya across the country under the banner of the neophyte Bisaya Gyud Partylist 108. As the wife of presidential communications secretary and acting presidential spokesperson Martin Andanar, who is a Bisaya, she believes that promoting the welfare of the Bisaya should be considered in the country’s bid for progress.
The Bisaya Gyud (BG) Partylist 108 aims to focus on food security, shelter, and education, which are aligned with her personal advocacy to help alleviate the incidence of poverty in the country.
“We are making progress in the country, that’s obvious, but we cannot turn a blind eye to the longstanding inequities that are still present in terms of economic and academic opportunities for our kababayan in Visayas and Mindanao,” says Alelee.
She supports policies that encourage more Filipinos, especially the youth, to be food producers. She also stresses that to jumpstart the country’s recovery, more opportunities, such as livelihood recovery projects, must be provided for areas in Visayas and Mindanao where economic growth is stunted.
Endorsed by President Duterte himself, Alelee vows that the group will pursue the platforms and reforms initiated by the Duterte administration in the said sectors. She also commits to bringing the “Aguilar” brand of public service to the Bisayan people.
“We want to continue to provide the basic services to the people in Mindanao and the Visayas so that they will not move to Metro Manila to seek jobs. The main thought should be that these regions should be sufficient and that the people should be assured of decent livelihood opportunities and liveable wages without going far from their hometowns,” she says.
Aguilar-Andanar graduated from De La Salle University with a bachelor’s degree in business management. She and Martin have two children.
She is the daughter of former Las Piñas mayor Vergel Aguilar and incumbent Mayor Imelda Aguilar and niece of Senator Cynthia Villar. Her grandfather, Dr. Filemon Aguilar, was also a former Las Piñas mayor.
Currently, Alelee is vice president at the Aguilar-owned VAA Builders Corporation, a housing developer based in Las Piñas, and corporate secretary at K1 Café Corporation, which she ventured into with her siblings. A licensed real estate broker, she is also the founder of Luxuri Manila. (Reprinted from Manila Bulletin)