'Wala nang mayor na natutulog sa Maynila' – Isko Moreno

MANILA, Philippines – After a jam-packed first week in office which saw surprise inspections, cleared streets, and warnings to violators of the law, Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno said that Manileños can expect nothing less than an active government during his term.

"Ang mensahe ay simple: wala nang mayor na natutulog sa lungsod ng Maynila. Ang Maynila, may gobyerno, umaga, tanghali, hapon, gabi, at hatinggabi – 24/7. Kaya, ingat," Moreno said during the city hall's first flag ceremony on Monday, July 8.

(The message is simple: there is no more sleeping mayor in Manila. Manila has a government morning, noon, afternoon, night, midnight – 24/7. So beware.)

It was an apparent swipe at former Manila mayor Joseph "Erap" Estrada who was rumored to wake up and report for work late. Moreno and Erap went head to head in a bitter campaign for the Manila mayoralty in the 2019 elections, ending with Moreno claiming a landslide win.

Moreno's speech largely revolved around rallying support from Manila City government employees. He appealed to them to work with him in bringing about his promise of a new Manila.

Echoing his proclamation speech, the new mayor said the public has voted and decided who would lead them. He urged Manila officials to move on from past grievances and reflect on why they decided to join public office.

"Huwag na natin tingnan 'yung nagdaan. Maaring kayo ay nalulugmok, maaring kayo ay nalulungkot, maaring kayo ay natapakan ng mga iilang indibidwal. Wala na pong mangyayaring ganyan, wala. Lahat kayo mahalaga, lahat kayo importante sa bagong administrasyon na ito, mga kasama ko sa paglilingkod sa bayan," Moreno said.

(Let's not dwell on the past. You may be feeling helpless, sad, and stepped on by others. That won't happen anymore, it won't. All of you are valued, all of you are an important part of this administration. You are my partners in leading this city.)

CLEARING OPERATIONS. Manila Mayor Isko Moreno earns huge praise for clearing operations carried out in his first week in office. Photo from Isko Moreno Domagoso's FB page

CLEARING OPERATIONS. Manila Mayor Isko Moreno earns huge praise for clearing operations carried out in his first week in office.

Photo from Isko Moreno Domagoso's FB page

More promises made: Moreno's speech during the city's first flag ceremony was his first addressing government employees of Manila. He vowed to look after those who work for the city. 

The biggest applause came midway when he said his first order to the city treasurer would be to ensure Manila officials received their salary regularly.

"Bago tayo magbababayad ng mga commercial contract na yan – kaya pala natin magbayad ng bilyon-bilyon – hindi naman magugutom 'yung mga contractor, pero 'yung mga empleyado 4 na buwan wala pang suweldo? Allowance na lang ginagawa pa tayong timawa," he said.

(Before we pay for commercial contracts – and we manage to pay billions – contractors won't starve, but employees who have not received salaries for 4 months? Even a simple allowance we are made to beg.)

The support of Manila officials is crucial if Moreno is to deliver on his grand promises during the campaign period. It's a tall order for the new mayor as he takes over the capital city which is now one of the poorest, dirtiest cities in the country due to years of neglect and corruption. (READ: Isko Moreno to corrupt Manila officials: One strike, you're out)

Moreno asked public officials to work with him as he vowed to clean up Manila and implement a "social amelioration program" that aims to give allowances and food to students and jobs to seniors.

"Trabaho lang, 'yun ang pinakikisuyo ko sa inyo....Kaya sana sa inyong lahat para pagtagumpayan natin ang layunin nating lahat na isaayos ang Maynila, tulungan ninyo po ako. Nagpapakababang-loob na ako sa inyo. Panahon na, ito na ang pagkakataon," he said.

(Work hard, that is all I'm requesting of you. I ask all of you to help me so that we can succeed in our mission of fixing Manila. I am humbling myself. It's time, this is our chance.) – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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