Meet Fil-Am Rear Admiral Bette Bolivar

LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – Women play a major role not only in protecting peace and security, but in disaster response and mitigation too, Rear Admiral Bette Bolivar, the first female Filipino-American commander of the US Navy’s Northwest Region, said.

During the Pacific Partnership 2016 held here, Bolivar said, “Women are the most important in peace and security, and disaster response…It’s amazing how we build and foster a strong relationship with the Philippines in terms of outreach and improving humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.”

Pacific Partnership is an annual deployment of forces from the Pacific Fleet of the US Navy, in cooperation with regional governments and military forces, along with humanitarian and non-governmental organizations.

Born in Hawaii and raised in a traditional Filipino family by parents Ted Sereno Bolivar, a US Navy sailor from Nabua, Camarines Sur, and Virginia Dolor Bolivar from Pangasinan, Bette Bolivar set foot in her native region for the first time.

Bolivar is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and has been serving in the US Armed Forces for 31 years after graduating from the naval academy 35 years ago.

Her prowess was tested in the battlefield before she was given a sensitive position in the US Navy.

Bolivar said her assignment in Afghanistan has been the most fulfilling so far in her military journey.

“My tour in Afghanistan is the most rewarding in my military career. It’s a great experience. If I’ll be asked to go back I’ll never hesitate to do so. No goal is unachievable. Set a goal and believe in yourself,” she said.

From her headquarters alone, she has command over more than 100 military and civilian people. The island of Guam has a 6,000-strong military.

Her post in the US military is a product of hard work, she said. Credit is given where it is due in the US Navy and she is thankful for the opportunity given her to serve her country and support her family.

It is hard work, not gender, according to Bolivar, that has been a factor in her success.

“Here in the military we’re recognized for what we do, how we work, and that’s how we got promoted. It’s not that I’m smarter or better, I’m just blessed to be surrounded with supportive teams and family to get me to where I am now,” Bolivar said.

She urged her fellow women to be strong and determined in pursuing their dreams and goals. – Rhaydz B. Barcia/