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Upside (Cherie M. Querol Moreno): Manalo, Daus-Magbual solidify FilAm leadership in Daly City

DALY CITY, Calif. – Juslyn Manalo, the first Filipino woman to become mayor of Daly City, got the gavel for the third time during the City Council’s Dec. 11 reorganization rites.

Manalo, who served as vice mayor this year, has garnered the highest-ever number of votes – 26,748 or 43.73 percent – for Daly City Council.

Citing the historic statistic, 2023 Mayor Ray Buenaventura nominated Manalo, a longtime housing advocate, to be his successor at reorganization rites December 11.  Special guest California Attorney General Rob Bonta, who officiated Manalo’s oath as city leader, hailed the act as a proud moment witnessing “one great Filipino American” follow another.

Mayor Manalo later nominated Skyline College Filipino Studies Professor and City Council Member Rod Daus-Magbual for Vice Mayor, who swore in before his daughter Amianan, accentuating Bonta’s words of affirmation and summed up the highlights of the prior two hours at the packed City Council Chambers.

“I am deeply humbled to become Mayor for the third time in the city I was raised in and the city I am raising my children,” Manalo said, her eyes trained straight on her son Ethyn and daughter Juselle frolicking at the front row of the gallery. “I want my children to be able to afford to live in Daly City.”

PRIORITIES

Her vision for her new term stays constant as her first, she told Inquirer.net after her installation.

“I remain committed to prioritizing affordable housing (building and sustaining more rental and ownership opportunities), increased public safety, youth development and senior services, healthy neighborhoods, improved parks, and the intentional reimagining of public services in all facets of local government towards social justice and equity,” she enumerated focus issues, stressing she will “continue to fight for Seton Hospital to remain in our community.”

Seton Hospital, the largest employer of the city with over 110,000 residents, has had a number of ownership changes in the last two decades.  It houses the only non-membership emergency room between San Francisco and Burlingame over 20 miles away.

A newlywed when she first joined the city council, Manalo has picked up valuable lessons personally and politically along the way.

Definitely she has “learned to listen to the pulse of the community on the ground and advocate for their needs,” she shares, adding that she would “lean on God when negativity arises, because I trust light will shine through the darkness.”

She has deep empathy for “the most vulnerable” and wants them to know that they belong to the community and “this is their City Hall.”

Recently named Senior Community Engagement Specialist with the City and County of San Francisco, Manalo was introduced to community service by her parents Lito and Josie Manalo, former head of the FilAm Training Center in San Francisco, which prepared newcomers to develop skills for joining the local workforce.

Little wonder she asked that her parents, her husband and “best friend for 20 years” Eluid Palomo and their two children stand by her side as she swore in, an act of gratitude and recognition for their “unyielding support…teaching me the values of family, hard work, faith in God, and the bayanihan spirit they displayed with others as I was growing up.”

Asked by Inquirer.net who come to mind for her success, she acknowledged “(the late community leader) Tita Alice Bulos who mentored Ray Buenaventura, who then paid it forward and mentored me.”   She commended San Mateo County Supervisor Canepa, a former Daly City Council Member with whom she has worked closely on “various issues concerning Daly City.”

IMPACTFUL PARTICIPATION

Throughout the first part of ceremonies focused on reflections of the past 12 months, Filipino Americans took multiple turns to receive the 2023 Mayor’s Awards for having made the most positive impact on the city.  They included:  Coach Arnold Cheng, who received honors as Citizen of the Year to reverberating cheers from the students and teachers at the Bayshore School who have benefited from his caring attention as coordinator of northernmost community annual block party and cleanup crew.  Well wishes poured for current Library trustee Gary Pacheco as Commissioner of the Year, for accepting “every opportunit”y to serve through health challenges.  Cheryl Catuar who first made her presence felt at the height of the pandemic when she organized food deliveries to sequestered health workers at Seton Hospital was named Volunteer of the Year.

FilAms outnumbered members of Daly City Host Lions in attendance to receive their plaque for Nonprofit of the Year, prompting Lion Ray Satorre, widely known town political adviser, to take the mic to exclaim, “Finally!”

Also awarded were Original Joe’s of Westlake for drawing patrons from all over the Bay for its world-class cuisine and service, and Carvana for its “vending machine sales experience” as Businesses of the Year, having boosted the city’s economy. Student athlete Kaylie Quon and youth poet laureate Olivia Veroy were named Youths of the Year for their activities to distribute food and visiting families in need.

Council members and awardees exchanged thanks and praise until the City Council meeting closed to begin reorganization some two hours later, and Buenaventura opened nominations for Mayor by nominating Manalo.

Someone at the back of the chambers suddenly yelled out invectives but did not halt the process.  City Council Member Glenn Sylvester nominated Council Member Pamela DiGiovanni with the reminder that she was the only one who had not been voted Mayor or Vice Mayor.

DiGiovanni accepted the nomination while asserting the selection process as “unfair” and “exclusionary.”  Unfortunately the city does not have a rotation, she echoed Sylvester’s suggestion to review and consider changing the process.

None of the three other Council members addressed the statements. Buenaventura further enunciated his earlier nomination for Manalo “on the basis of her record of receiving the highest number of votes for any city council member in Daly City history.”

While a few attendees continued to trade slurs, reorganization proceeded and concluded with the outpouring of gratitude to the previous mayor, who majority of the council members consider their mentor or ally.  (Adapted from original and reprinted with permission from INQUIRER.NET.  https://usa.inquirer.net/141209/juslyn-manalo-sworn-in-as-mayor-of-daly-city)