A 24-YEAR-OLD Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) president in Madridejos is the youngest mayor elected in Cebu Province in the May 2016 elections.
Mayor-elect Jay River Dela Fuente is the son of outgoing Madridejos Mayor Salvador Dela Fuente, who was elected as vice mayor of the town.
Jay was the standard-bearer of the Liberal Party in Madridejos.
“I’m thankful that it was a landslide victory. Dali ra ma-implement ang among project para sa katawhan (It would be easy to implement projects that would be beneficial for the people),” Jay said.
Although he is the youngest candidate who ran for mayor in the town, it was not his first time to join politics.
In October 2013, Jay ran and won as barangay captain in Barangay Mansilang at 21 years old. He is believed to be the youngest barangay captain elected in the town.
He then became the ABC president of the municipality.
At first, he had fears about leading his village.
When he decided to run for mayor, he no longer had worries because he believed that he was able to deliver the appropriate services and project for his people.
“For me age is never a hindrance sa ako… Sincere ka moserbisyo (to become a public servant. What is important is your sincerity to serve),” Jay said.
Jay graduated with a degree in bachelor of science in business administration major in marketing at the University of San Carlos. He finished elementary and high school in the Centre for International Education in Cebu City.
He said he ran for mayor in order to pursue the programs his father has started, especially the free education program for the youth.
As a young leader, Jay said he will focus on free college education for the youth, especially those from the indigent families.
He would like to create a youth association that can give him a business proposal so the municipality can provide capital for them, as one way to help their families.
Jay is also confident that his father and the council would support him in whatever plans he would want to implement in the town.
In 2007, incumbent Provincial Board Member Sun Shimura, who was then 24, was considered as the youngest mayor in Cebu when he was elected in Daanbantayan.
At that time, Shimura’s mother, Maria Luisa Loot, was also elected as vice mayor.
Incumbent Mayor Dela Fuente said one of the factors they got a landslide victory is their immediate response to the needs of the people when the typhoon Yolanda hit last Nov. 8, 2013.
He wanted his son to run because he saw the need to pursue significant projects that are being implemented in the town, especially the scholarship program.
Councilor Emie Gabito said she has high expectations of the young mayor because she saw him doing well in Mansilang.
Gabito said Mansilang now has its own school and rehabilitated roads through the efforts of Jay.
“We will support him,” she said.