Rose Marie Arenas Scaled

Maria Rachel J. Arenas

Maria Rachel J. Arenas, Member of the House of Representatives of the Philippines

Bio: Maria Rachel Arenas was re-elected for the third time as Representative of the Third District of the Province of Pangasinan in the 19th Congress with an overwhelming mandate of 91% of votes cast in the 2022 elections. She is the Chairperson of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives and concurrent Vice Chairperson of the Committees on Appropriation, Transportation and Health.

She was first elected in 2007 and 2010 to the 14th & 15th Congress, respectively. In early 2017, she was appointed as Chairperson of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB), a national agency under the Office of the President. She began her political career shortly after taking graduate courses at the Harvard Kennedy School of Harvard University and completing her Global Master of Arts Program in the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

Rachel is an advocate of community empowerment as a means to achieve genuine, sustainable, and inclusive development. The hallmark of her political career in Congress is her direct and dynamic partnership with the 304 Barangays of the Third District, the largest in Pangasinan. With this close collaboration through regular dialogue and consultation, she transformed her District into a progressive, prosperous, and peaceful community. She devotes her public service in the pursuit of legislative reforms and initiatives that facilitate better access to more opportunities for her constituents, in particular, and the vulnerable and marginalized sectors, in general.

It is important for Rachel that socio-economic and political development is inclusive, leaving no one behind. To her, it is the duty of the government to assure that every Filipino is able to put food on their table and a roof over their head by way of free access to quality education, delivery of basic health services, availability of nondiscriminatory employment, and equal protection of the law and social justice.

In Congress, she used her office to enable responsive and relevant governance, and be an effective agent for the grant of tens of thousands of scholarships, medical assistance, livelihood opportunities, construction of school buildings, farm-to-market roads and bridges, irrigation and waterway systems, agricultural and farming equipment and inputs.

In the first week alone of the plenary session of the present 19th Congress, she has filed about 20 national and local House Bills and Resolutions, which include the creation of an information and technology hub in every district, the rollover of unused data allocation, magna carta for seafarers, and for non-uniformed personnel, better compensation for barangay health workers, to name a few.

A graduate of De La Salle University with a degree in Bachelor of Arts Major in Political Science and Japan Studies, Rachel also finished a certificate course on “Negotiation and Dispute Resolution” at the Institute of Politics, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. In 2003, she completed her Global Master of Arts Program at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. Rachel is the only daughter of former Deputy Speaker Rose Marie “Baby” Arenas.

In her first term as a legislator, Rachel was honored as the Most Outstanding Congresswoman in 2007. Because of her dedication and notable contributions as a public servant, she was also nominated as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men and Women (TOYM) in 2011. As a testament to her continuous commitment to humanitarian service, she has been elected Governor of the Philippine Red Cross for almost a decade already, up to this time.