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Journey of the Barong Tagalog, 21st Century Philippines Part 1: President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

Maria Gloria Macaraeg Macapagal Arroyo is a Filipino professor and politician who served as the 14th president of the Philippines from 2001 to 2010. She is the daughter of President Diosdado Macapagal, the 9th president of the Philippines.

After completing her bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees in economics, Arroyo taught economics at the University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University and other schools. She began her career in public service in 1987 as the assistant secretary and then undersecretary of the Department of the Trade and Industry under President Corazon Aquino. Arroyo was also the executive director of the Garments and Textile Export Board concurrently.

In 1992, Arroyo ran for senator and won a seat. She was a senator from 1992 to 1998. In 1998, Arroyo ran for Vice President and won, becoming the first woman to hold this office. She served under President Joseph Estrada, and he appointed her to Secretary of Social Welfare and Development. In 2000, she resigned this position, distanced herself from Estrada when he was accused of corruption and called for his resignation.

In 2001, after a disputed impeachment trial of Estrada, subsequent mass protests and the Philippine military’s withdrawal of support of the President, Estrada resigned office and Arroyo succeeded to the presidency.

After completing the remainder of Estrada’s presidential term, Arroyo decided to run for president in 2004’s elections. She won by over one million votes amid allegations of voter irregularities and cheating.

Arroyo’s presidency was marred by allegations of corruption, bribery and election rigging, multiple impeachment attempts, attempted insurrections and mass protests in opposition. In response, Arroyo’s administration arrested opposition leaders, raided a newspaper critical of Arroyo and limited press freedom.

 

After her presidency, Arroyo ran for a seat in the House of Representatives and won in 2010. She won re-election in 2013, and she was elected the first female Speaker of the House in 2018.

There were multiple charges against Arroyo for electoral sabotage, corruption and plunder during her time in the House of Representatives, none of which succeeded. Arroyo’s approval rating was largely negative during her presidency and subsequent time in congress.

During her presidency, Arroyo did wear the Barong Tagalog occasionally, from time to time.

Arroyo wears a piña Barong Tagalog in this presidential portrait

Arroyo wears a piña Barong Tagalog in this presidential portrait

Arroyo wears a short sleeve barong while in this Joint Cabinet and National Disaster Coordinating Council meeting

Arroyo wears a short sleeve barong while in this Joint Cabinet and National Disaster Coordinating Council meeting in Iloilo City during the disaster relief efforts in response to Typhoon Frank in 2008

Arroyo in a barong while distributing relief goods during Typhoon Frank

Arroyo in a barong while distributing relief goods after Typhoon Frank

Arroyo arrives in Iloilo during Typhoon Frank. She wears a barong

Arroyo arrives in Iloilo after Typhoon Frank