Old name, new promises? Janella Estrada begins San Juan bid

Rambo Talabong

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Old name, new promises? Janella Estrada begins San Juan bid
Before thousands of San Juan residents, the 29-year-old third-generation Estrada vows to provide affordable healthcare and more housing for the poor

MANILA, Philippines – For her first mayoral run, Janella Ejercito Estrada has big promises for San Juan City.

Dito po sa San Juan, natagpuan ko ang aking tunay na misyon, at ang aking layunin sa buhay… Ang misyon ko ay makapag-ambag ng mahusay na paglilingkod at mga kongkretong programa para patuloy na umunlad ang ating bayan,” Estrada said during the proclamation rally of Team One San Juan on Saturday, March 30.

(Here in San Juan, I found my mission, and my life’s purpose. My mission is to contribute skilled service and concrete programs so that our city continues to improve.)

Before thousands of San Juan residents at the Plaza ng Masa on Saturday, March 30, the daughter of former senator Jinggoy Estrada vowed to provide affordable healthcare and more housing for the poor.

She then said she will open a mobile application for government services, and to strictly enforce a city ordinance mandating all businesses to have at least half of their employees to be locals.

The 29-year-old has gone far in her political career. She entered  politics in 2013 as city councilor, then moved up in 2016, when she was elected as vice mayor. 

This year, she’s up against former vice mayor Francis Zamora, the bet of the ruling party PDP-Laban. 

If she wins, she would be the 4th in her family to become San Juan City mayor, after her grandfather Joseph Estrada, her father, and Guia Gomez.

'ONE SAN JUAN.' The Team One San Juan, led by mayoral candidate Vice Mayor Janella Estrada, opens its proclamation rally at the Plaza ng Masa with Christian and Muslim prayers. Photo by Rambo Talabong/Rappler

Estrada’s promises: Estrada anchors her campaign programs on the thrusts she worked on as vice mayor: JELS which stands for jobs, education, livelihood, sports, and social services.

Aside from enforcing the “50% ordinance,” Estrada vowed to compel job fairs in San Juan to have a quota of hiring half of applicants “on the spot.”

For education and livelihood, she plans to bring in more scholarships and increase the budget for public schools in the city. She then guaranteed jobs for residents who will undergo training programs on culinary arts and information technology.

Then for the recreation of residents, she promised to build a sports center – like the one in Marikina City – complete with a “function hall” and a public swimming pool.

In promoting social services, Estrada plans to focus on helping informal centers by constructing “in-city housing” while enforcing a no-demolition policy.

Napakarami ko pong plano para sa ating lungsod, at alam ‘nyo po na hindi po ako mahilig mangako at hindi po ako mahilig magsalita nang hindi ko kayang tuparin (I have so many plans for our city, and you know that I don’t like making promises, and I don’t like speaking of things I cannot do),” Estrada said.

PASSING THE POSITION. Guia Gomez, 3-term mayor of San Juan City, endorses her step-granddaughter Janella Ejercito Estrada to be her successor at the Team One San Juan proclamation rally at the Plaza ng Masa on March 30. Photo by Rambo Talabong/Rappler

Her family’s help: Estrada exuded confidence while enumerating her grand promises. After all, she already has generations of political capital in San Juan City.

During the campaign proclamation, Estrada enjoyed the endorsement of her family’s political veterans – politicians she could count on if she won the mayoral race.

First to endorse her was 3-term San Juan Mayor Guia Gomez, who she worked with during her term as a vice mayor from 2016,  and as councilor from 2013 to 2016.

Her grandfather, former president Joseph Ejercito Estrada, made an appearance too, raising her hand in front of ecstatic supporters before giving her a tribute.

Her father Jinggoy then dropped by to give her his blessing. A former San Juan City mayor himself, Estrada recalled how his daughter would accompany him in his campaign sorties when he ran for vice mayor, and now, in his bid to return to the Senate. He believed his daughter was ready to become San Juan’s local chief executive.

Nag-mayor ako sa edad na 29 years old dito sa San Juan. Magme-mayor din siya sa edad na 29 years old dito sa bayan ng San Juan (I was mayor when I was 29 years old here in San Juan City. She will also become mayor at 29 years old),” Jinggoy said. – Rappler.com

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.