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.*