EMILY Espeso joined the Philippine Ports Authority's (PPA) Port Management Office (PMO)-Iloilo in 1989 when the then 15-year-old agency was just removed under the auspices of the then Ministry of Public Works and Highways. Consequently, she has today become the first and possibly the only woman to remain serving PMO-Iloilo for the past three and a half decades.
While Espeso started her career with PPA as a storekeeper and ascended the ranks until she was eventually promoted to the agency's administration division manager, many in PMO-Iloilo see her as a strong mother figure who thrives in a male-dominated sector.
She is "Mama" to many PMO-Iloilo staff and officers, including the succession of port managers who have served the agency for the past 35 years. In fact, two of the leading managers of PMO-Iloilo regard her with much deference, affirming that her presence radiates the intensity and warmth of a mother.
"I would constantly guide them with their career paths, and whenever discipline needs to be a little harder, they would get an earful from me," Espeso laughed.
Espeso looks younger than her age, 63.
Her laughter-filled discourse demonstrates excessive energy and optimism for a woman her age and state.
It was when asked about her inspiration to be in the maritime industry that her strong, cheerful façade gave way.
Photo by Mikee Esplago 
Article by Yashika Torib

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