Fil-Am Juslyn Manalo sworn in as mayor of Daly City | Inquirer

Juslyn Manalo sworn in as mayor of Daly City

Filipino Americans solidify leadership in one of San Mateo County's largest cities

Juslyn Manalo with family and AG Rob Bonta

Mayor Juslyn Manalo recognizes her family’s role in her successful political journey by asking them to stand with her as she took her oath as city leader before Attorney General Rob Bonta (right). Photo by Cherie M. Querol Moreno

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 reorganization rites on Dec. 11.

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, outgoing Mayor Ray Buenaventura nominated Manalo, a longtime housing advocate, to be his successor.

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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.

Manalo later nominated Skyline College Filipino Studies Professor and City Council Member Rod Daus-Magbual to succeed her as vice mayor.

Daus-Magbual took his oath as vice mayor before his daughter Amianan in a scene that accentuated 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.”


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


“I remain committed to prioritizing affordable housing and building and sustaining more rental and ownership opportunities,” Manalo said.

Rod Daus-Magbual taking oath, with raised hand, before daughter

Professor Rod Daus-Magbual, who underscored his advocacy for youth and education, takes his oath as vice mayor before daughter Amianan. Photo by Cherie M. Querol Moreno

She plans to focus on 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.”

Manalo said she will also 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 in 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.

AG Rob Bonta speaking at the podium

Attorney General Rob Bonta said he was proud to have witnessed “one great Filipino American” follow another. Photo by Cherie M. Querol Moreno

Josie Manalo is the former head of the FilAm Training Center in San Francisco, which helped newcomers 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 was sworn in.

It was 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,” Manalo said.

She also acknowledged the late community leader Alice Bulos for inspiring her to succeed. Bulos mentored Ray Buenaventura, “who then paid it forward and mentored me,” Manalo said.

She commended San Mateo County Supervisor David 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.

The awardees included Coach Arnold Cheng, who was honored as Citizen of the Year to reverberating cheers from students and teachers at Bayshore School, who benefited from his caring attention as coordinator of northernmost community annual block party and cleanup crew.

Well wishes poured in for current Library Trustee Gary Pacheco, who was recognized as Commissioner of the Year for accepting “every opportunity 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 health workers at Seton Hospital, was named Volunteer of the Year.

Fil-Ams 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!”

Lions Club members pose for a group photo

Outgoing Mayor Ray Buenaventura (front center) names Fil-Am-led Host Lions Club as Nonprofit of the Year for exemplary service. CONTRIBUTED

Original Joe’s of Westlake and Carvana were named Businesses of the Year for helping boost the city’s economy.

Student athlete Kaylie Quon and youth poet laureate Olivia Veroy were recognized as Youths of the Year for their activities serving families in need.

Council members and awardees exchanged thanks and praise until the City Council concluded their meeting 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 was “unfair” and “exclusionary.” She echoed Sylvester’s suggestion to review and consider changing the process.

None of the three other Council members addressed the statements. Buenaventura proceeded with his nomination of 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, whom majority of the council members consider as their mentor or ally.

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TAGS: Daly City, Filipino American politicians, Mayor Juslyn Manalo
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