Today in Philippine History, March 4, 1879, Rosa Sevilla was born in Tondo, Manila

Saturday March 03, 2012 ()

On March 4, 1879, Rosa Sevilla de Alvero, educator, writer and one of the notable suffragists in Asia who fought for the Filipino women's right to vote, was born in Tondo, Manila.

Rosa Sevilla de Alvero   
(Rosa Sevilla de Alvero)   

She pursued her desired profession of being a teacher and graduated as "maestra superior" at Assumption College. Together with Pura Villanueva-Kalaw and Pilar Hidalgo-Lim, she lobbied and campaigned for woman suffrage.

Hence, since April 30, 1937, Filipino women have been granted the right to vote and to be voted in elective office, which has led to the election of two women presidents for the country.

Originally, the 1935 Constitution limited the right of suffrage to male citizens because there was no popular demand for the right of suffrage by Filipino women themselves and the granting of the right of suffrage to women, it was claimed, would only disrupt family unity as the women become actively engaged in politics.

Sevilla, who became the first Dean of Women at the University of Santo Tomas, was also one of the two women staff members of La Independencia, the Philippine revolutionary government official newspaper edited by General Antonio Luna.

She founded the first Filipino-initiated school, Instituto de Mujeres (now, Rosa Sevilla Memorial School), on July 15, 1900 as the first school for Philippine lay women.

She was also co-founder of the Liga de Damas Filpinas, the Federacion Catolica de Mujeres, and the Associacion de Hispanistas.

An eloquent orator and a gifted editor of the woman’s page of La Vanguardia, she founded Woman’s Outlook, a national magazine for women.

She received the Presidential Medal of Merit Award on July 4, 1948 for the many services she did for the country and the Filipinos. That same year, she also received the Queen Isabella II of Spain Award.

She married Emilio Alvero, a known painter of their time.

She died on May 11, 1954 at the age of 75.

Reference: Philippine News Agency
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