Ace to improve health, housing, jobs in Cebu

·3 min read

FORMER tourism secretary Joseph Felix Mari “Ace” Durano is up against reelectionist Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia and independent candidate Nonito Magnanao in the race for Cebu governor on May 9, 2022.

For this Face-off series intended for voters to get to know the plans of their candidates, SunStar also reached out to Garcia; however, the four-time Cebu governor and former representative of Cebu’s 3rd congressional district declined to participate in the series.


Joseph Felix Mari “Ace” Durano

Age: 52

Address: Danao City

Highest educational attainment: PhD, Lawyer

Previous work experience: Consultant for various private corporations

Chairman of the board, Colegio de San Antonio de Padua

Cebu 5th district representative, 1998-2001, 2001-2004, 2013-2016

Secretary, Department of Tourism 2004-2010

1. What are the three most urgent problems in Cebu Province? If elected governor, how would you address them?

HEALTH. The health program during the time of Gov. Junjun Davide (Durano’s running mate in the May polls) was already a step in the right direction. There were enough doctors and medical workers, medical equipment were upgraded, and various medical operations were made possible and were done for free. But it was all halted under the new administration. So our plan is to hire more medical workers, particularly specialty doctors; get back the medical equipment for our provincial and district hospitals; and ultimately upgrade all our hospitals so we can conduct more operations for free.

Urban Poor, Settlement. One of the major concerns we’ve heard from people as we went around the Province, especially in Metro Cebu, was informal settlement. There are those that have had this problem for decades because it’s either they don’t know who to approach for help or that the local government officials attending to the problem have run out of time. To address this, we need a Provincial Human Settlement Office so the people will know who to approach, and so records on the development will be there regardless of the change of administration.

Jobs, Livelihood. Apart from the lack of health services, a lot of Cebuanos felt the brunt of the (Covid-19) pandemic after losing their jobs. Not enough support was provided, especially to a lot of sectors like those from the tourism and the infrastructure industries. We have to make sure that we have a Multi-Sectoral Income Support Program that will assist those who need jobs from all sectors.

2. How would you describe your leadership style?

Inclusive, transparent and collaborative

3. How do you see Cebu Province 10 years from now?

We all deserve #AbetterCebu. When we’re able to put into action the programs under our Cebu Priority Development Agenda, we believe in 10 years, it would be a better quality of life for every Cebuano family.

4. Who are your models in terms of leadership and why?

There’s not one leader that I get inspiration from on my leadership style. From my grandfather, Manong Amon, I get the courage to take on uncharted territories. From my dad, (Danao City) Mayor Nito, I get the patience when dealing with supporters and allies. But from both of them, I was able to embrace the practice of helping people first.

5. What is your edge over your opponents?

I believe in collaboration and listening to the people. I believe that the most effective programs are those that people really need and you get that by listening to them. Hence, the Cebu Priority Development Agenda--programs and solutions made by the people, for the people.

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