Girl Scouting in the Philippines
JOSEFA LLANES-ESCODA, was born on 20 September 1898 in Dingras, Ilocos Norte. She was the eldest of the seven children of Mercedes Madamba and Gabriel Llanes.
She graduated valedictorian from Dingras Elementary School and salutatorian from Laoag Provincial High School. She obtained a teaching degree from Philippine Normal College where she graduated with honors in 1919. While teaching, she earned her high school teacher's certificate from the University of the Philippines in 1922. After this, she went to the USA and studied social work. She finished with a masteral degree in Sociology from Columbia University.
During her first trip to the USA, she met Antonio Escoda, a reporter from the Philippine Press Bureau. After their return to Manila, they got married and were blessed with two children, Maria Teresa and Antonio Jr.
In 1939, her second trip to the USA just before the outbreak of World War II, she underwent an intensified training in Girl Scouting sponsored by the Boy Scouts of the Philippines. When she came back in 1940, she began to train young women from among teachers of public and private schools to become Girl Scout leaders and then proceeded to organize Girl Scout troops.
On May 26, 1940, President Manuel L. Quezon signed the charter of the Girl Scouts of the Philippines (Commonwealth Act. No. 542), giving the Movement the recognition of its role in leadership training of girls and women. Josefa became the first National Executive of GSP. She served in this capacity until she was captured by the Japanese occupation army.
During the Japanese occupation of the Philippines, she and her husband helped Filipino and American prisoners in several concentration camps. On August 27, 1944, she was arrested and imprisoned in Fort Santiago where she and Antonio were reported to have been interrogated and executed.
Every September 20, the Girl Scouts of the Philippines pays homage to Josefa Llanes Escoda by celebrating her birth anniversary with activities that would create further awareness of her martyrdom and contribution to youth development.
History of Girl Scout Movement | Girl Scouting in the Philippines | Girl Scouting in San Pablo City