Working in a ‘man’s’ world

By: Nestle L. Semilla July 14,2018 - 09:52 PM


Society may tend to view women as weak and inferior as they are thrust into gender roles and biases of what women should or shouldn’t do.
But make no mistake about it.

In the world of law reinforcement, women are slowly muscling into an arena traditionally dominated by men.

In Cebu, three women: Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) acting director Senior Supt. Royina Garma, CCPO information officer Senior Insp. Arieza Velasco-Otida, and Fuente Police Station head, Chief Insp. Ma. Theresa Macatangay, bested their male counterparts by moving up the career ladder through sheer dedication and able performance.

Small and petite, the three women officers may appear to be physically weak compared to men; but their tiny frame betrays a huge personality hidden beneath.

Garma, Otida and Macatangay are fierce; feared and respected by people under their command, mostly men.

Senior Insp. Arieza Velasco-Otida, the former chief of the Talamban Police Station, is now the information officer of Cebu City Police Office (CCPO). CDN PHOTO/NESTLE L. SEMILLA

It was never easy working in a place ruled by men, said Macatangay and Otida.

“It’s difficult. There was even a time I was teased by my fellow officers because gihatod ko sa akong Tatay padulong sa akong office (because my father brought me to work),” said Macatangay.

For Otida, a former chief of police (COP) of the Talamban Police Station, her work as COP and now CCPO information officer are both not easy jobs.

“So far becoming the COP of Police Station 8 was the most challenging experience as a police officer. I had to manage a station where the personnel were almost all male,” said Otida.

According to the three police officers, their being female motivates them to be the best in their field to prove that they too can rule like their male counterparts, or perhaps even better.


For Macatangay, the path towards her current position included gaining the trust and confidence of her superiors; but most especially, the men she managed.

A year after graduating from the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) in 2007, Macatangay was appointed as chief of the Pinamungajan Police Station.

“I was 26 years old. A woman with a small frame. Who would believe me?,” said Macatangay who was dwarfed compared to the size of her male personnel who were big and mascular.

“But I do not fight strength with strength… their strength versus the regulations of PNP,” said Macatangay, a stickler for the rules of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Among Cebu City’s 11 police stations, Fuente Police — which Macatangay currently manages —covers an area with the most number of business establishments.

She believes that her accomplishments and experiences over the past years are the reasons why she gained the respect of her fellow police officers today.

“You have to gain it. And once you’ve gain it, you have to work it everyday in order to sustain the trust, confidence, and respect,” said Macatangay.

Being a woman was never a hindrance to her relationship with her personnel who are mostly men, said Otida.

“It’s very challenging. Because one, (I have to manage) a police station with 90 percent male and 10 percentfemale,” said Otida.

Otida also finds it a challenge to manage all forms of cases in her area of responsibility while also handling several barangays in the city as police information officer.

Otida does not find the need to prove something to men just because she is a woman.

But she admitted that as chief of the Talamban Police Station before, she needed to check who among her personnel were with her and who were not.
“Fortunately, I have chosen the cream of the crop and they were the ones who helped me throughout my tenure as COP,” said Otida.

Otida said it was never her dream to become a police officer nor manage a job dominated by men.

“My first choice was to be an anchorwoman or a lawyer. But I have no regrets and I love my job now,” said Otida.


For the first time in the history of Cebu City, it now has a woman leading its police force, Garma.

Garma, officially assumed as CCPO director on July 2 replacing Senior Supt. Joel Doria.

“ I will just do what I have to do,” said the feisty, tough-talking Garma.

“Whether a man or woman, we both have brains and possess the same body parts,” said Garma who will not let her gender get in the way at all.

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TAGS: Man's, Working, world
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