Top 100 Cebuano Personalities: Esperanza Fiel Garcia
CEBU, Philippines — Esperanza Fiel Garcia, fondly called “Inday,” is best remembered for founding the Cebu CFI (Court of First Instance) Community Cooperative in 1969, a legacy that to this day, Filipinos are still benefiting from.
True to her name, which in Spanish translates to “hope,” she gave thousands of Filipinos the chance at financial empowerment through the cooperative.
It was when Garcia was appointed to be the Clerk of Court of CFI of Cebu when the lawyer saw the plight of court workers who were under the mercy of loan sharks.
Presently, the Cebu CFI Community Cooperative is one of the country’s most successful community cooperatives.
Garcia served as attorney of the Department of Labor, was appointed as City Judge of Mandaue City, and was a Presiding Judge of Cebu City’s Regional Trial Court Branch 23 until her retirement in 1993.
Among Garcia’s numerous recognitions are the Baul Award in 2000 as a Model Filipino, and the Tony Martin Leadership Award in 2001 for her “exemplary promotion of cooperativism and for fostering the ideals of freedom, justice and nationalism.”
In 2011, she also received from the Federacion Internacional de Abogadas the Esperanza Award for promoting the cause of women, children and the family.
Garcia was born in August 14, 1933 in Palompon Leyte to Dr. Eutiquiano Fiel and Consuelo Tan who originally hail from Ormoc City.
She finished high school at the St. Peters College in Ormoc City and her Associate in Arts and Bachelor of Laws degrees at the University of San Carlos.
In 1954, she married fellow attorney Pablo Paras Garcia – a bar top-notcher, constitutionalist and deputy speaker who would later on be elected as Board Member of the Province of Cebu, Governor and Congressman.
Garcia succumbed to a lingering illness in February 2016. (FREEMAN)