Mayor Isko

Sun Star Bacolod - - Opinion -

F

OR three con­sec­u­tive elec­tions since 2013, Joseph Estrada and Al­fredo Lim fought each other for mayor of Manila, with the for­mer best­ing the lat­ter.

The only dif­fer­ence though in 2019 was that nei­ther of them won. Isko Do­magoso Moreno, who had served as vice mayor to both Estrada and Lim, tal­lied 357,925 votes, more than those of Estrada and Lim com­bined.

At 44 years old, Moreno is a vet­eran in pub­lic ser­vice, be­gin­ning as a coun­cilor in 1998 un­til 2018 as un­der­sec­re­tary for Lu­zon Af­fairs at the Depart­ment of So­cial Wel­fare and De­vel­op­ment un­der Pres­i­dent

Ro­drigo Duterte. The Pres­i­dent’s party sup­ported Lim, while the pres­i­den­tial daugh­ter, Sara, backed Estrada. Asenso Manileño, the lo­cal party with grass­roots sup­port, cat­a­pulted not just Moreno to the City Hall but his vice mayor Honey Lacuña, and 22 out of the 36 coun­cilors.

Since his elec­tion, Moreno has be­come the fa­vorite of me­dia, get­ting mileage for his cleanup drive in some of Manila’s land­marks that had turned to eye­sores. He has ar­tic­u­lated well the as­pi­ra­tions of most peo­ple of the cap­i­tal city to re­gain­ing its stand­ing as the Pearl of the Ori­ent, the Venice of the Ori­ent and the Rome of the East.

It is a tall or­der though. Manila is known for its hor­ren­dous traf­fic, squat­ter colonies, crim­i­nal­ity and all other so­cial and en­vi­ron­men­tal ills that be­siege ur­ban cen­ters. While Moreno has hit the ground run­ning to make Manila as pro­gres­sive as Makati and Taguig or as at­trac­tive as Cebu, Puerto Princesa and Davao, he needs a lot of help from both gov­ern­ment and the pri­vate sec­tor. With the city’s coun­cil and ma­jor­ity of the barangay cap­tains on his side, he is as­sured of get­ting leg­is­la­tion needed to im­ple­ment his de­vel­op­men­tal agenda.

On July 27, Moreno had din­ner with some of the coun­try’s most im­por­tant business lead­ers, in­clud­ing Ayala Corp chair­man and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Jaime Augusto Zo­bel de Ayala, SM In­vest­ments Corp. vice chair­man Tere­sita Sy-co­son, Aboitiz Eq­uity Ven­tures chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Sabin Aboitiz and Al­liance

Global chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Kevin Tan at the home of pop­u­lar TV host Kim Atienza. It was re­ported that the ty­coons were so impressed by Moreno on his vi­sion, his en­thu­si­asm and his ar­tic­u­late­ness. If only they will di­rect some of their re­sources to fund Moreno’s dreams, Manila may just be­come a jewel as it once was.

I am sure that the name of Isko Moreno is start­ing to get men­tioned for the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion on May 9, 2022. Though that seems too early, there will be those en­vi­ous of his early suc­cesses and will find fault in the man. It would be good for Moreno not to talk politics at the mo­ment, and con­cen­trate on the tasks in front of him. If he is able to make Manila rise from medi­ocrity, so will his po­lit­i­cal stock.*

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