Progressive, Loving Leadership
With her years of experience and her father’s guiding words, Caloocan City Vice Mayor Karina Teh is determined to improve the lives of women, children, and families.
BY ROSY MINA
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROMEO PERALTA JR.
In her 15 years of public service, Karina Teh became an acting vice mayor a few times, serving as the presiding officer of the city council session of her hometown, Caloocan.
The then 1st District councilor recounts to LEAGUE that she posted about being vice mayor for a day “kasi pinapakita ko na (because I was showing that) I can do this.”
As if that social media post was a sign of things to come, the 35-year-old wife and mother of a three-year-old boy ran for vice mayor this year.
“It’s time na maramdaman naman ng mga taga-Caloocan paano mamuno, paano kumalinga ang isang babaeng leader sa Caloocan (for the people of Caloocan to feel the caring leadership of a female leader in Caloocan),” she shares.
On May 9, Caloocan finally had another female vice mayor after 25 years in Teh, the daughter of the late councilor and human rights lawyer Atty. Ramon Teh.
“Kung merong kuya o tatay, meron naman ding mommy o ate na babalanse doon sa working mechanics namin for Caloocan (If there is a big brother or father, there is also a mother or big sister who will balance our working mechanics for Caloocan),” she says of her working relationship with elected Mayor Dale “Along” Malapitan, her running mate and former 1st District representative.
TAKING ON THE CHANCE TO LEAD AND HELP THE COMMUNITY
Teh attests that before becoming a politician, she was extremely shy, with the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Communication Arts graduate preferring to work behind the camera as a researcher and segment producer for GMA-7.
But as the eldest of three children of lawyer parents, Teh was present during the house-to-house campaigns of her father when he ran for councilor. She also occasionally joined her sister onstage for intermission numbers during campaign rallies.
When her father won in 2007, he encouraged Teh to try to be a kagawad of Barangay 179 since she was active in the student body and other organizations during college. Her father pointed out that if she loses, there would still be many opportunities as she was only 21 years old then. And if she prevails, it would be an opportunity to help others. She finally gave it a try, but encountered another hindrance: “Mahirap pala
(Turns out, it’s difficult) to campaign for yourself because when I was campaigning for my father, syempre iba ‘yung tingin ko sa kaniya, feeling ko superhero siya (of course I looked at him differently, as if he were my superhero).”
She decided to shift the focus away from herself and instead direct the spotlight toward advocacies closest to her heart: women and youth. And it was effective because she became a two-term kagawad.
In 2012, her father was set to run for Congress but unfortunately, passed away. This led his political party to make changes to their slate and offer her a slot for the .....