The mantra of reform and the governor’s career in public service are two sides of the same coin. The mandate therefore remains clear and strong.

Governor Ma. Jocelyn “Joy” Valera-Bernos continues to embrace an equally important role that comes with her position: that of a mother, not only to her own children but to every Abrenio from whom her mandate emanates. As she does, she vows to make the slogan “Asenso Abrenio” a long-term reality in order to make Abra a better home for its people.

’Joy HELPS’ is my guide in delivering services to my fellow Abrenios,” the then Congressman once said when asked about her plans. HELPS is an acronym for the five salient points of development which her administration focuses on.

H is for Health. During her inaugural address, Gov. Joy expressed her support in promoting optimum health for every Abrenio. This mission is not new to her as she also headed committees on health services when she was a Board Member of the Second District of Abra. Now as Governor, she focuses on improving the Abra Provincial Hospital (APH) and making it a more efficient health care facility in the province. In particular, the Governor looks at a computerized hospital system and free medical supplies for Abrenios as pressing solutions.

E is for Education. Gov. Joy stands by the principle that education must be given to all. This is why as Congressman, she devised a program dubbed as JOY-EAP (Educational Assistance Program) which catered to the academic needs of 4,000 scholars. As Governor, she looks forward to enhancing such program in cooperation with the Commission on Higher Education.

L is for Livelihood Programs. In cooperation with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Gov. Joy aims to give relevant seminars, programs, and training sessions for Abrenios in need of sustainable livelihood endeavors. Financing of micro businesses such as the loom weaving and bamboo industries is also given priority. All these efforts are in the name of helping Abrenios improve their economic status while strengthening the province’s local industries.

P is for Projects and Programs for Infrastructures, Agriculture and Peace and Order. Realizing that infrastructures, agriculture, and peace and order are also crucial points in progress and development, the provincial government under Gov. Joy’s leadership looks forward to strengthening each given aspect. The province’s economy is expected to boost through the construction and improvement of farm-to-market roads and bridges, which will make the travel time of goods and services a lot faster. There has also been a discussion on newer farming technology that can boost the province’s agricultural returns, especially through engaging Abra’s top rice granaries, La Paz and Manabo. On peace and order, the Governor also looks to prioritize measures to make sure that Abrenios are protected and secured.

S is for Social Services. As Congressman, Gov. Joy introduced the “Gift of Joy” program, a social service-oriented undertaking that brought Abrenios closer to her care. With this program continued, more Abrenios are expected to be reached as it has always aimed to cater to the needs of the marginalized. Manifestations include school bags and school supplies for school children, feeding programs in public schools, as well as legal and financial assistance for the public in need.

Yes, the ride to reforming the provincial government of Abra started on June 30, 2016; and what ride comes without a guide? “Joy HELPS” – this is that guide which kept our then Cong. Joy standing, and the same one that she wishes to use now as our Gov. Joy.

That is her leadership mantra, her style of governance. She is on a mission not only to make Abrenios feel that she cares and that she helps, but also that they are a part of her administration. She vows not only to make sure that government services are delivered instead of just promised, but also to bring every Abrenio at the core of it all.

And as the provincial  government follows the guide that she offers, Gov. Joy’s familiar words echo throughout the land: “Sapay kuma ta agtalinaed ti ragsak iti J-O-Y kadaguiti puspusoyo tapnu amin nga Abrenio umasenso!