While a lot of women in the Philippines take the spotlight for their beauty and talent, a few build their names through their advocacies. A lady known by her friends to be a woman of substance and a voice for peace, Dr. Rhodora Torres Gonzales, nicknamed Rhoda by her loved ones, takes the center stage by garnering the “Ambassador for Peace” award by the Universal Peace Federation, based in the United States of America.
Said peace award is given to individuals whose lives exemplify the ideal of living for the sake of others, dedicating themselves to practices which promote universal moral values, strong family life, interreligious cooperation, international harmony, renewal of the United Nations, a responsible public media and the establishment of a culture of peace.
Born in San Jose, Nueva Ecija, Rhoda had shown a special leaning for public service as she was growing up. She took up and finished BS Nursing, a course that eventually led her to develop a strong service orientation, strength of character and a broader perspective in life. Later on, she earned her Doctorate in Humanities at Piedmont College of Technology Asia Pacific – Research and Graduate School System.
Rhoda also ventured into business and became a woman entrepreneur. She proved her craft by serving as an International Property Consultant in the real estate business for four straight years before entering the challenging arena of governance and politics.
She was later appointed as Legislative Staff Assistant at the Senate Electoral Tribunal in 2004, before working as Political Affairs Assistant at the Commission on Appointments in 2005 under the Office of Senator Ramon Bong Revilla Jr. Eventually, she got promoted as a Consultant for Political Affairs under his Extension Office.
In 2016, Rhoda channeled her skills into a new field by serving as Senior Assistant Vice President of The Manila Express, an online news platform that empowers Filipinos worldwide. It started as a printed newspaper in the USA, where she served as its Chairman while it continued circulation for years eventually flourishing in different states of America. Recently it has received an award of recognition for its contribution as a valued partner by the Polytechnic University of the Philippines.
Just recently, Rhoda has been recommended for a Director’s position at the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and the Department of Tourism and attached agencies such as the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) and Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA).
The basis for such recommendations was her extensive experience in leadership and management, pointing towards her being equipped with the essential knowledge of tourism and overseas welfare. She was able to maintain, over the years, excellent relations with foreign dignitaries, the diplomatic corps and kababayan’s abroad gaining for her their trust and confidence.
As an International Advocate for Peace, Rhoda has also been a very active leader of the Rotary Club International in her capacity as former President of Rotary Club of Diliman Central under 3780 District. Lately, she has been busy with many of her philanthropic works and has extensively toured 70 countries engaging OFW’s and helping them find solutions to their concerns and issues. She is scheduled to travel to more countries this year and the next to carry on with her mission. Rhoda’s travels have inspired so many Filipinos worldwide especially those whom she meets abroad and those who witness her international feats online.
In support of Rhoda’s advocacy for peace, she currently serves as Vice President for Public Affairs of the Sino-Phil Asia International Peace Awards Foundation Inc. Also a former Consultant of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) under President Rodrigo Duterte’s Federalism Campaign, she helped mobilized interfaith support to his agenda by uniting goal-driven faith-based organizations in the country.
When asked about her plans ahead, Rhoda simply remarked that as a voice for peace, she will never stop using all her abilities and experiences to promote harmony in the local and international scale while at the same time making a difference by helping Filipinos abroad and offering her assistance towards the attainment of the goals and vision of the present administration for nation-building.