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FilAm women leaders discuss representation, culture in Bay Area forum

Rommel Conclara | TFC News San Francisco

Posted at Mar 31 2023 06:01 PM

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Filipino-American women leaders in the San Francisco Bay Area recently led a forum on how they can represent their culture in public service.

The forum featured Vallejo Vice Mayor Rozzana Verder-Aliga and Daly City Vice Mayor Juslyn Manalo. 

Verder-Aliga is the first elected Filipina-American leader in Solano county, while Manalo is the first to be elected to the Daly City council.

Also featured at the event were Linda Canlas, former New Haven Unified School District trustee, as well as Berryessa Union School District trustee Thelma Boac. 

Jaria Jaug, meanwhile, was the only member of Generation Z in the panel. 

Whether it's their first term or another in a long career, the Filipinas said it is gratifying to see more of their countrymen in positions of influence. 

“Representation is important," said Verder-Aliga. "We are stakeholders in the community. We lived in the community for many, many years and we have to have a voice at the table.” 

Education is a common priority for the elected leaders. But they said it is a subject that they cannot tackle alone. 

“The most critical one right now is that our students are supported because there was a great deal of learning loss during the pandemic," Boac said. "So with mental health issues, we need to have all the resources that’s available.”

They also stressed that it is important to bring in others to local government through appointments. 

“The Filipino community is vibrant and active and there have been so many qualified commissioners that have come on board to serve in our community which is really wonderful to see," Manalo said.

The event was organized by the Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco.

It was held to mark National Women's Month in the Philippines, and Women's History Month in the U.S.