Mayor Mario Ong Salvador, popularly known as Kokoy, started his political career at the barangay level in 1989. Humanitarian values are inherent in him. While serving as Barangay Councilor, he donated all his barangay salaries to the barangay tanods and even augmented it from his own personal funds.
From the barangay, he moved to the City Council, where as an elected councilor he sponsored ordinances geared towards improvement of public service. He sponsored City Ordinance 04-075, an ordinance mandating businesses to employ 60% of their workforce from San Jose City citizens.
When he was elected as San Jose City’s Vice Mayor from 2007 to 2010, he spearheaded several projects even if he didn’t have funding from the city coffers. One of his projects was women empowerment through small-scale industries, where women at the barangays were trained to make soap and herbal medicines, taught haircutting skills, backyard vegetable gardening, yellow corn production and organic fertilizer production.
Kokoy was elected to San Jose City’s mayoralty in 2016. To this day, his advocacy for community building and people empowerment continues. Under his leadership, the city is seeing a wave of beautification, sights improvement and events projects that attract visitors, making San Jose City a popular destination in Nueva Ecija. The city is becoming known as Nueva Ecija’s Christmas Capital due to the wonderful lights display and events taking place during the Christmas season. This, without sacrificing the quality of service extended to the city’s residents.
Just mid-way into his first term, Mayor Kokoy has already steered San Jose City in paths that have gained recognition, among them in the areas of health and environment.
When he’s not busy serving the public, Mayor Kokoy is attending to his businesses. His accomplishments in the business sector are proof of his management and leadership skills. He is the proprietor of VS Gripal Rice Mill, one of the biggest state-of-the-art rice mills in Nueva Ecija. This rice mill even suffered a fire tragedy many years ago, but he was able to resuscitate and grow it successfully.
For all his success in business and politics, Mayor Kokoy always acknowledges the significance of his better half, his wife Veronica, who is popularly addressed Ate Viring. They have 3 sons and 1 daughter, most of whom are already helping them run the family’s businesses.