A princess for her people: UP remembers former Regent Bai Fatima Palileo Sinsuat

| Written by Franco Gargantiel II

Image from the PRC Cotabato City – Maguindanao Molecular Laboratory Facebook page

The University of the Philippines (UP) and the country mourns the loss of former UP Regent and Chair of the Board of the Philippine Red Cross Cotabato Chapter, Bai Fatima Palileo Sinsuat, who passed away on the morning of February 4, 2022, according to a text from her niece.

A humanitarian and a Filipino princess who was truly royal in both her heritage and actions, Bai Fatima Palileo Sinsuat time and time again helped Filipinos through various projects and organizations that she had both created and led.

She was the daughter of the late Datu Blah Sinsuat. Even at a young age, she was an actual princess because she had the power to help Filipinos with her unique status and devoted her life to doing so. She helped organize labor with her father, and, in 1986, all dockworkers in Cotabato City port became members of an organization she created and led, the Progressive Labor Union (PLU).

A true civic leader, she took part in various organizations with the ultimate goal of serving the public. She served as mayor of Upi, Maguindanao from 1980 to 1986 and was eventually appointed Head of the ARMM Board of Investments. Later, she was appointed as a member of the UP Board of Regents, the University’s highest governing body, by Philippine President Joseph Estrada, and remained a Regent for three terms. She was also the first Muslim woman in the last 30 years to be elected to the national board of the Philippine National Red Cross and, most recently, as the Chairman of the Board of Red Cross in the Cotabato Chapter.

The year 2003 marked her most significant achievement as a social worker. Sinsuat was awarded the National Outstanding Volunteer Award (NOVA) in Malacañang Palace for her blood donation advocacy in the Philippine Red Cross in Cotabato City and initiation of the Organization of International Humanitarian Law Core Group of PRC for the protection of the civilian population in times of armed conflict.

Sinsuat never stopped offering kindness and compassion to every Filipino through various projects that aided them. A true royal, this princess has always looked out for the safety and well-being of her people. An actual modern-day princess who went beyond the expectations for past royals with her humanitarian work while serving as a beacon of encouragement for Filipinos to someday surpass her ideals in making the world a better place for all countrymen.