Montano takes oath as PCW Chairperson

The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) welcomes Sandra Sanchez Montano as she assumes office as Chairperson of the agency.

Montano took her oath before Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año in a short ceremony at the Camp Crame, witnessed by Undersecretary Marjorie Jalosjos and Mr. John Alvin Montano on July 13, 2020.

Before being appointed as Chairperson, Montano served as PCW Commissioner for the Science and Health Sector.

Path carved 30 years ago through the rubbles

Coincidentally, her year of appointment also marks the 30th year of a disaster that changed her life. Her story began on July 16, 1990 when an earthquake killed thousands in Baguio City. Montano, then a nursing student, was staying at her boarding house which collapsed from the 7.6 intensity quake. She was pinned down and her body was hauled from the rubbles after she survived three agonizing days without food or water.

She transformed this tragedy into a victory and founded the Community Health Education Emergency Rescue Services (C.H.E.E.R.S.), a social enterprise that provides communities with knowledge on disaster preparedness, by conducting internationally-certified training on Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS), and more.

She made it her advocacy to prepare Juanas and Juans for disaster. She participated in developing the curriculum for disaster preparedness in the K-12 Basic Education Program, became the president of the Private Sector Disaster Management Network, joined Southeast Asian Minister of Education Organization (SEAMEO) Education in Emergencies, and was hailed as Best Delegate “Hajime No Ippo” of the International Red Cross Youth.


Montano is a nurse by profession and was recognized as Huwarang Nars ng Bayan by the Philippine Nurses Association. She became a member of the board of the same association, taught Basic Life Support, was involved as an expert in the Ladderization Program for Midwifery of the Commission on Higher Education, among others.

Aside from being a healthcare provider and disaster preparedness advocate, Montano is also involved in entrepreneurship. She was active in the National Technical Working Group on Healthcare and Beauty Industry of the Technical Education and Skills Development authority (TESDA), became part of the ASEAN Skills Delegation in several instances, was the Chairperson/President of the Social Entrepreneur Alliance for Change (SEAChange), hailed as the Best Pinoypreneur by the University of the Philippines Gawad Parangal, and received recognitions from the Great Women in Successful Enterprise.

She also made a name for herself beyond the Philippine borders. She bagged an award as the First ASEAN Woman Leader in ASEAN Business Investment Summit 2014 in Myanmar.

Her efforts to provide sustainable livelihood on EFR/MRE towards resilient communities were likewise recognized by ASEAN Women Entrepreneur Network (AWEN) 2015 Hanoi Vietnam which recognized her as the Outstanding ASEAN Women Entrepreneur.

Her contribution to society in MSME inclusive growth by mobilizing highly skilled talents as part of APEC Global Value Chain and her outstanding work in pre-hospital care led to her recognition as among the 100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the World 2016 in Behind the Scene Leader category. She was also the International Author of Disrupt 3.0 “Intensity 7” story in Filipina Women Rising.

Montano as PCW Chairperson

As the Chairperson of PCW, Montano vows to stir the agency into more strides towards gender equality and women’s empowerment, promoting the rights of women in all sectors, especially women micro entrepreneurs , those marginalized, and those who are vulnerable to disasters.

She commits to bring about a modified and enhanced PCW, “grounded on the achievements and victories of women leaders before us.”

“We give honor and recognition to the past achievements that brought womanhood in general and PCW in particular to where it is today.  Salute to the past leaderships of the PCW who laid the foundation to what can be done and achieved here and onwards,” Montano enthused.

She envisions a PCW that works for  “positive and collaborative womanhood.”

“PCW will advance the advocacy towards productivity, where women are independent, self-reliant and contributory partners and co-creators of everyone across genders, age groups, socio-economics, socio-cultural, political, business, and all demographic variables of a modern society we have right now,” Montano added.

Montano will chair the 23-member Board of Commissioners of the PCW. As a collegial body, the PCW Board formulates policies to address gender issues and concerns in accordance with the agency mandate.

Aside from the Chairperson, the Board is comprised of 12 non-government organization (NGO) representatives appointed by the President, and 10 ex-officio members from national government agencies namely: the Departments of Labor and Employment, Social Welfare and Development, Education, Health, Foreign Affairs, the Interior and Local Government, Trade and Industry, Budget and Management, and the National Economic and Development Authority. The NGO members of the PCW Board are: Ms. Cristita Triunfante for Education or Academe; Ms. Judy Calimutan for Business and Industry; Ms. Patricia Anne Keng for Youth; and Ms. Tess Gonzales from the National Council of Women of the Philippines. The seats for Labor, Media and Arts, Health and Science, Urban Poor, Culture, Indigenous Peoples, and Peasants and Fisherfolks Sectors are currently vacant.

Established in 1975, the PCW is the primary policy-making and coordinating body of the government on gender equality, women’s empowerment, and the fulfillment of women’s human rights. It acts as a catalyst for gender mainstreaming and lead advocate for women’s empowerment and gender equity and equality in the country. Its administration and operations are being managed and administered by the PCW Secretariat and led by its Executive Director, Atty. Kristine Rosary E. Yuzon-Chaves.