SHE brushed aside his father's wish to follow his footsteps after the latter -- the late Councilor Pedring Salvador -- ended a three-term post at the City Council from 1992 to 2001.
Nine years later, though, Marissa Salvador-Abella finds herself in the same halls of the City Council where her late father held office.
As a new city councilor for Davao City's second district, Salvador-Abella says getting a seat in the 16th City Council was an uphill task. But she apparently made her mark as a barangay chairman.
When she became barangay captain of Barangay Vicente Hizon in 2006, she defined her environmental thrusts as a barangay leader emphasizing, among others, a solid management in compliance to Republic Act 9003, otherwise known as Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.
Even before the Davao City Council enacted an ecological solid waste management ordinance, the young barangay has been a pilot area with 2,500 households in nine subdivisions including the posh Insular Village.
She led the barangay council in enforcing a "no-segregation-no collection policy" after an intensive information, education and communication (IEC) campaign generated awareness and support from the 13,000 residents of Model Homes, Pampanga Executive Homes, Lizada Village, Insular Village 1 and 2, Fortune Executive Homes, Nova Tierra Village, Belen Homes, Sto. Domingo Village and Donasville.
Foremost, she conducted a clean-up drive in all nine subdivisions and discovered overflowing garbage bins.
"I realized there was indeed improper dumping of garbage and improper use of garbage bins," said Salvador-Abella, who is a former vice president of the Nova Tierra Homeowners Association.
She then engaged barangay functionaries to conduct pulong-pulongs and house-to-house survey and information drive, using flyers on the why's and how-to's of waste segregation and mobilized village associations.
Abella reiterated the importance of an effective solid waste management which is not only the responsibility of the city but also the barangays and its constituents.
Born in Davao City on August 30, 1956, Salavdor-Abella spent her elementary and high school years at the Assumption College of Davao, and obtained a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy degree from the Ateneo de Davao University.
She said she wasn't the best student but she worked harder than a lot of people and the regard she has for education she also applies in public service.
A few weeks to graduation in March 1977, she joined the Mutya ng Dabaw tilt and wore the crown. She recalls having picked the similar question in three occasions during the contest -- "How can you contribute to the beautification and cleanliness project of Davao City?"
Her simple answer, "Cleanliness starts at home," undoubtedly impressed the judges and generated the audience's applause.
It was a sincere answer that she fulfilled even up to this day.
But life has been more than just being a barangay captain. She deemed it necessary to expand and share her passion so she took the campaign trail to be a second district councilor.
"It wasn't easy because my husband strongly opposed my plan," she said.
However on November 4, 2009, Abella got the best gift for their 31st wedding anniversary -- an anniversary card from her husband Ralph and four kids saying they are giving their full support for her candidacy.
She finds satisfaction in her efforts to protect and conserve the environment.
"It's a passion," she said, adding that during her elementary years, she thought leadership was just for bright students.
Abella's recent trip to Japan for a three-week training on solid waste management intensifies her vision to pursue environment friendly practices in Davao City.
It was a chance of a lifetime, she said, and it will surely help in the realization of her vision -- "Green (reforestation), Blue (sea), Brown (Garbage) Davao City for a Sustainable Development."
"This is something that I see myself doing long even in my gray years. I'm sharing the blessings. Using my influence in a positive direction and there's really nothing more positive than education and awareness for the protection of the environment."
For Councilor Salvador-Abella, it may be a tedious task, but the results will soon become evident if everyone will do their share to help fight climate change, starting off with proper disposal of solid wastes.