In the Spirit of the Holiday Season, I decided it would be appropriate to feature a former beauty Queen who is now an accomplished public servant who has dedicated her life in service for others. She is former actress, print ad model and producer Ina Alegre – Jennifer Cruz in real life – who has been showing her mettle as an outstanding public servant in her capacity as Vice-Mayor Elect of the Municipality of Pola, Oriental Mindoro. Now a mother of four and wife to Eastern Visayas Police Regional Office director Police Chief Supt. Gilbert Cruz, the 42-year-old, Ina may well be following in the footsteps of Rep. Vilma Santos.
Pageant-wise, our subject was crowned Mrs. Universe Philippines 2015 and represented the country during Mrs. Universe 2015 held in Minsk, Belarus. She is also one of my fellow awardees during the Philippine Empowered Men and Women of 2017 Recognition Night.
Jennifer is currently doing an excellent job of taking care of her constituents just like a mother looking after her children. She has the very nurturing charm that allows a sincere performance of her duties as a public official.
To get to know her more, below is our one-on-one interview with Jennifer:
Q – How do you divide your time as a mother, wife and public servant?
Ina- From the very beginning, I always believe and rely in proper time management, especially, for the things I love and to the people that have a soft place in my heart. Being a public servant is indeed a tough job, that’s why I always see to it that I am available for my constituents all the time. However, being a mom is my top priority. I always see to it that I spend quality time with my kids, a day or two, even if it takes for me to travel from Mindoro to Manila and vise versa. I am thankful that my kids understand my responsibilities as public servant. They even join me and take part in my activities. I am very lucky to have a very generous and supportive husband. Since, he also loves to help people, he fully understands my passion to make a difference in other people’s lives.
Q – What do you consider your most important achievement so far as vice mayor of Pola?
Ina – Every program that we are doing in Pola is an achievement coming from the heart. Though we are in a legislative side, we’re able to build more homes in the community, covered courts in the barangays, provide assistance to senior citizens and those who are in need. To sum it up, being able to share my blessings, being able to care and love to people of Pola 24/7 without expecting anything in return (doon po talaga tumitibok yung puso ko sa pagtulong).
Q – Do you see yourself in the molds of Congresswoman Vilma Santos?
Ina – Hon. Vilma Santos is really an icon; I idolize her since I was a kid. And now we’re taking the same path, which is serving people, it’s really good to look up to her as a model. But of course, I wanted to create my own name and own tag in this field. Yes, it is fulfilling to help and acknowledgement is just a bonus.
Q – Can you tell us about the I.N.A. (Institusyong Nag-aangat sa Antas ng Pamumuhay Foundation INA Foundation.
Ina – I consider INA as one of my biggest achievements. It started as a dream for me, from someone who came from a not so well-of family, who strived hard to reach for her own dreams. I have always wanted to help the poor, to teach them to strive harder for their future, inspire and educate the youth, to teach them how to fish, and not just by giving them the fish.
I established the foundation before I entered politics. Now on its 8th year, we already have 14 programs for the youth, senior citizens, women and even for the Mangyan minority where we could see, it’s very productive and helpful in uplifting their lives.
Q – How do you help your husband in the campaign against illegal drugs in Pola?
Ina – Now that I am the town’s Vice Mayor, together with the members of Sangguniang Bayan, we are working hand in hand to monitor illegal drug activities, and implement the law in the town. I’m proud to say that we have attained many drug free barangays in Pola and we’re aiming that the whole town will be drug free.
Q – You have maintained your former looks and body, is a movie comeback possible even when you are busy with your life as a politician?
Ina – Thank you. Uhm, I’m always open to TV projects as soon as I can find time to do them. As I’ve said earlier, my family and constituents are my priority but a movie comeback is always possible. Acting is still in my heart and if we can get the right role and movie…why not?