Alama: A very special thanksgiving

Durian Central

I FIRST met Jose Abad Santos mayor-elect Jason John Joyce way back when we were law school students in Ateneo de Davao. We met again when he was the TV host of the RGMA telemagazine lifestyle show “Istayl Nato” a decade ago. We reconnected back when we attended Ike Pono self-empowerment seminar in 2014.

I received a standing invitation from him to visit his municipality of Jose Abad Santos, he was talking about the tourism potentials of his town, which he likens to fabled Bali.

Jose Abad Santos with a population of about 70,000 people is one of the towns comprising Davao Occidental, one of the country’s newest provinces. It is blessed with beautiful vistas, fertile farmlands, and bountiful seas. Jason was the town’s vice-mayor when he ran and won as mayor in the recent 2019 elections.

Before assuming office, Jason was able to organize a unique thanksgiving celebration which encapsulates his focus and priorities as the Municipal Mayor of Jose Abad Santos.

“In my thanksgiving, my audience was different, they were the women, children, senior citizens, persons with disabilities, IPs, and children of OFWs. I decided to have a different crowd than the usual audience,” Jason said.

“My administration, will be an administration for those who are weak, who are neglected and the marginalized,” Jason described his platform. He said his priority will be his constituents living in the hinterlands of the town particularly the indigenous communities.

Other priority programs include rural electrification and focus on education particularly in the hinterland barangays where extension schools are being built.

Jason said that in his term the local government would touch on issues such as HIV, mental health and depression, and LGBTQ concerns.

The events of his thanksgiving mirror his platform. Among these include the Zumbarana, where Zumba sessions are combined with harana culminated by the Zumba color party graced by Davao City’s top DJ Torch Gacuma.

After the thanksgiving mass, a concert followed which featured Tawag ng Tanghalan winner Ken Mariscal, then a magic show by Jopet Dulalas. A community fair followed highlighted by a Taboan where IPs where able to sell their goods and produce. Also a medical mission was held in the town. To cap the thanksgiving an exclusive evening beach party was held in their property headlined by DJ Torch.

Jason said he is ready for the rigors of public office and he is all fired up to serve his constituents this time as mayor.


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