MA National Security Administration, National Defense College of the Phils. (NDCP); Ph.D. Philippine Studies (honoris causa), Philippine Normal University; Ph.D. Education Planning & Management (honoris causa), Mindanao Polytechnic State College; Ph.D. Philippine Studies (honoris causa), Mindanao State University, Iligan Institute of Technology; Doctoral units, Public Administration, University of the Philippines Manila
With her inborn charisma and socio-political savvy, Santanina has come a long way from being a simple school marm in the country’s backwaters to an esteemed leader in the august halls of Philippine educational and government institutions.
She set out on her public service career as a lowly public school teacher in Sulu (1952-1957). In 1960, she was voted Councilor of Barrio Tubig Alat in Jolo, Sulu; getting reelected 1962. The voting populace thereafter elevated her to the position of Board Member of Sulu Province (1971-1976). She was elected a Senator of the Republic of the Philippines in 1987, and was reelected for another six-year term in 1992.
Santanina champions national unity, women’s rights, and empowerment through literacy in her many assignments and activities. She was a Member of the GRP Panel that forged the Peace Agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front, ending nearly 30 years of armed conflict (1996). She is the Founder/Chairperson of Magbassa Kita Foundation, Inc. (1991-present). She headed the Philippine Delegation to the UNESCO-sponsored World Conference on Education for All, Jomtien, Thailand (1990); the Philippine Government Lobby Mission to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia – for the 19th Conference of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Conference (1990); and the Philippine Delegation to the UNESCO Conference in Beijing, China (1988).
She also served as Commissioner of the UNESCO Philippine Commission, representing Muslims and Cultural Communities (1986-1989); and the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (1976-1985). She is Founder and Chairperson of Bantay Dagat, Inc. and Kasannangan Foundation, Inc. (national unity through the international Eidul Fitri Festival). Further, she is Founder and President Emeritus of the Muslim Professional & Business Women Association of the Philippines, Inc. Member of the Sigma Beta Alumnae Foundation, Inc., as well as Zonta Club of Manila Foundation, Inc. She is a Life Member of the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa); and Lead Convenor of the Muslim Women Peace Advocates.
Santanina has most deservedly been conferred with, among many others, such honors as “The Golden Heart” Presidential Award (1996); Most Distinguished Alumni Award, University of the Philippines (1991); Gawad Sentenaryo, National Centennial Commission (1998); Silver Jubilee Achievement Award, Reading Association of the Philippines, with the Department of Education, Culture and Sports (1995); Ina ng Bayan Award (Outstanding Mother), Gintong Ina Foundation (1991); Honorary Ambassador of UNESCO, International Literacy Year (1990); “Filipina First” Award of Honor (First Filipina Muslim Senator and Chairperson of Senate Committee on Women), Zonta Club of Manila Foundation, Inc. (1998); Fellow, World Academy of Arts and Sciences (elected 1997); Honorary Ambassador, UNESCO (1990, International Literacy Year); Most Outstanding Alumnus (Public Service), University of the Philippines College of Arts and Sciences (1989); Gintong Ina Award (Government and Public Service), Gintong Ina Foundation (1988); Most Outstanding Alumnus, National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP), (1986 and 1987); Sultan Dipatuan Kudarat Award, Outstanding Achiever of Mindanao and Sulu (1985); Tandang Sora Award (Government and Community Service), (1981); Most Useful Citizen Award, Philippine Women’s University (1977); Arsenio Lacson Award, “Best Student Paper in Political Science” (1950-1951).