Bohol’s Choice Cuts
By Loy M. Palapos
February 20, 2011
THE INTERNATIONAL STUDENT, NOW AN ACE IN PROVINCIAL GOVERNANCE
The Philippines, just like many other countries that are highly politicized, is not spared the dilemma of having officials, both local and national, who are appointed because of reasons other than eligibility, qualification, and knowledgeability. This is already an accepted norm, and a complaint about it is a voice in the wilderness. Thus, the “no-hear, no-see, no-speak monkey syndrome” has been the vogue. No use rocking the boat if you are in it.
Nevertheless, this does not categorically pinpoint that political appointees are misfits; there are many of them who have earned their laurels because they deserve them. Especially those tenacious individuals who have developed and internalized the habit of accomplishing the tasks assigned to them.
At the Bohol Provincial Capitol is a new office that caught the attention of the quizzical public. It is known as the office of SEEM (Social Economic and Environment Management). It is headed by a Lady who was initially an Agriculturist by profession, but whose local, national, and international exposures accorded her the rudiments of modern managerial dexterity. The adroit administrator is Liza Migriño-Quirog. Not a cry-baby, for her maturity has armed her with an indomitable will; not the obnoxious, aggressive manipulator who bullies the rank-and-file, but an educated woman whose knowledge on human behavior is beyond reproach.
Liza’s forebears were hard-working and gifted achievers, more so in public service. Her parents are both competent lawyers. Atty. Quirico Migriño, Jr. graduated from Holy Name College (Holy Name University) and was a Public Attorney. Her mother, Salud Cabugsa-Migriño also finished her LLB at Divine Word College (HNU). She was appointed Judge of Balilihan and Catigbian until her retirement in 2009.
Liza was born in Tagbilaran City on December 21, 1965. With their home just beside the school, she studied at the Tagbilaran City Central Elementary School (1978), and enrolled at Divine Word College High School Department and at the University of Bohol, where she graduated with Special Honors in 1982.
Before her graduation date, a Team from Xavier University Science Foundation of Cagayan de Oro City came to Tagbilaran City to conduct a series of interviews and tests for a scholarship grant in Agriculture. She had other plans for a college education, but she took the opportunity that seldom knocks at anybody’s door. At sixteen, she was already aware of the financial implication…with all 5 of them in the family in school. A scholarship was a way to assuage the situation. She passed the rigid screening.
Brought to a new environment, the dainty teen-ager learned fast, especially in budgeting her limited resources and her time. Besides, she needed to get excellent grades to maintain the scholarship. Which she did, until she graduated in 1986. Being a graduate at Ateneo de Cagayan, a prestigious school, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture, as a scholar of the Xavier University Science Foundation, was a distinctive mark, a badge of honor that could pave the way to her first job.
From 1986 to 1989 she was hired as an Agricultural Researcher at JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency). Later, the Department of Agriculture and BAPC (Bohol Agricultural Promotion Center) absorbed her as Agricultural Technologist-Researcher until 1993. She transferred to the Provincial Agricultural Office as an Extension Worker until 1996.
Aware of the importance of education, she enrolled at Holy Name University for a graduate degree (Master in Business Administration: Market Research). In 1995, he graduated with a Master’s degree in Public Administration (Summa Cum Laude) from the University of Bohol, through the Local Scholarship Program of the Civil Service Commission. In 1996, she went back to Ateneo de Cagayan and took up Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology, after being granted a scholarship by the Research Institute for Mindanao Culture. During the incumbency of Governor Rene Relampagos, she received a Recall Order and served the Province as Executive Secretary until the year 2000. Then she became the Provincial Agriculturist. When Governor Erico Aumentado took over the provincial rein of governance, Liza Quirog was given another challenge: a newly created office, the Bohol Center for Developmental Studies, where she and her staff did policy researches.
A series of opportunities came to her doorsteps from 2003-2006, all of them she made use of. The first was a stint in Israel, a training on Development and Rehabilitation of Micro Regions, by Mashav International Development Agency. Her immersion in Israeli culture was a highlight she cannot forget.
In 2004 she went to Australia, for Benchmarking of Best Local Government Practices, sponsored by the Australian Agency for International Development. The training was made at the University of Melbourne. This unique experience in another setting, in the Land Down Under, was another eye-opener for the Lady who realized that developmental studies take different shapes, but always leave indelible impressions on the student.
From 2005-2006 she went to the United Kingdom of Great Britain. She enrolled at the University of Manchester where she finished Master of Science in International Development, through the Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program. She next went to the University of London, at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).
The afore-mentioned trainings completely changed the world of Liza, especially in terms of understanding human behavior. Interacting with different nationalities all over the world broadened her horizons and made her dig deep into the nuances of varied-cultures. When she came back to the Philippines she had what it takes to more development-oriented pursuits.
For a brief time, she was back as Head in the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist. At the advent in the administration of Governor Edgar M. Chatto, a few reforms were made, one of them was the clustering of Departments. This necessitated the creation of SEEM, which Liza M. Quirog now supervises as Cluster Head.
How about her personal life? When Liza married Bonifacio Quirog, Jr., it was in an atmosphere of verdant hope and desire for a life-long union; but sometimes life can play a trick or two. They have a son, Ludwig Bon, now 21, and taking up a course in Business Management. Her world now revolves around her son.
Liza is the third in a family of three girls and two boys. The eldest is Joyce Fe M. Caseñas. She finished Bachelor of Arts, major in Economics, at the University of the Philippines. She now works as a Human Resource Manager of Aegis People’s Support, Inc., a Call Center in Cebu City. Robin Nereo studied at the University of Southern Philippines and got a diploma as a Geodetic Engineer. He enjoys a lucrative private practice of his profession through Migriño Surveying Firm in Cebu City.
Olivia M. Mende also went to U.P., and finished Bachelor of Arts, major in Philosophy. She came back to Tagbilaran City and took up LLB at Divine Word College and the University of Bohol. After a fruitful private practice, she is now the Judge in Bilar and Sevilla. The youngest, Quirico Tomas III, decided to enroll at the University of San Carlos for a Bachelor of Science degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering, which he finished with flying colors. He is now based in Canada.
Liza Migriño-Quirog is a fulfilled individual, as far as her profession and career are concerned. She cannot ask for more… what with the in-puts she has to muster for the challenges of her job. It is in the personal dimension where there is still a miniature void. But being the “fighter” that she is, there is no time for negative introspection. Sixty-five, for her, is not the ideal age for retirement. It should be very much lower, and when that happens she can while her time without stress in a farm she is now tending.
But, as of now, resting on her laurels is far from her thoughts. There are still challenges to face. Public perception defines her as an International Student who is now an Ace in Provincial Governance. She has no time to gloat on the accolade. She loves her work, and this is what matters most.