San Juan City vice mayor Janella Ejercito Estrada could have been an “artista” has she opted to follow the footsteps of her dad, ex-senator Jinggoy and her great grandfather, the former president Joseph Estrada. After all, she comes from an influential family of actors.
“Siyempre, kinunsider ko rin noong pumasok sa showbiz, pero anong gagawin ko, ang chubby ko na ngayon,” she said in jest.
The ever convivial and hardworking vice mayor is a star in her own right as she continues to make waves in public service.
“Bata pa lang ako, gusto ko nang pumasok sa politics. Na-inspire kasi ako sa lolo ko at sa daddy ko. Lagi nila akong kasama, so na-realize ko na ito ang gusto kong gawin,” she declared.
One of her pet projects is holding a pride march in her city.
“First pride march namin ito sa San Juan. Naisip ko itong gawing project dahil gusto kong lahat ng tao pantay-pantay. Meron dapat tayong equality sa lahat ng ating mga mamamayan. Isa rin ito sa mga advocacy ko. Hawak ko kasi ang Drug Abuse Council at ang Gender Equality. At isa sa mga proyekto ko ang gender equality,” she said.
“Konsehal pa lang ako, naisip ko nang gumawa nang ganito. Hindi ko lang na-push noong mahalal ako sa konseho. Kaya, pinapasa ko sa mga konsehal para noong nagkaroon ng ordinansa puwede na kaming gumawa ng 1st ever Pride march,” she added.
She said she also founded gay and lesbian organizations in San Juan.
“We have this group na na-organize iyong San Juanitas para sa gay community, tapos katatatag lang namin ng San Juanitos, para naman siya sa lesbian community,” she shared.
She also passed an ordinance protecting the rights and supporting the welfare of the LGBT community in her place.
“Meron kaming anti-discrimination law. Meron tayong ordinansa na lahat ng business sectors sa San Juan, bawal mag-discriminate sa kahit sino. Kahit dito sa city government. Kahit saan puwede silang pumasok regardless of their sexual orientation,” she asseverated.
By holding the first Pride March in San Juan, she hopes to eliminate gender biases that hinder the community’s growth and development and thus, make them productive allies of the society.
“Ang purpose ng Pride March is to recognize diversity and equality. It’s all about acceptance, it’s love of one’s self and embracing who you are without the fear na huhusgahan ka. It’s not also being apologetic for being yourself. It is aimed at promoting equality, condemning hate, discrimination and violence. Layunin nitong mapagbuklod-buklod ang lahat. It is about unity in our humanity,” she elucidated.
She’s very thankful also to Mayor Guia Gomez’ support for her projects.
“Okay naman kami. Lahat naman ng projects ko ay supported ni Mayor Guia (Gomez),” she said.
She also hopes to hold a gay and lesbian film festival in her city in the near future.
Janella is also ecstatic that her father was set free after spending more than three years behind bars for plunder and graft.
“Happy ako dahil after three years, ngayon lang namin siya nakasama sa labas ng kulungan, so definitely, halos kumpleto na ang Pasko ko,” she concluded.