Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso urged the public to set aside their political differences and unite in the country’s battle against the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
This after he ordered the removal of tarpaulins branding communist rebels as “persona non grata” in Metro Manila on Wednesday.
“Ayoko ng toxic sa buhay nowadays. Napaka-toxic ng pamumuhay ng tao. Hirap na ang tao. Ano man ilagay niyong poster-poster diyan (I do not like toxicity in my life nowadays. The people are living very toxic lives. Whatever poster you place there), whether pro-government, anti-government, whether pro-politician, anti-politician, it will not help or ease the situation of our people,” he told reporters on Thursday.
“We are still in the midst of a health emergency, a pandemic. We are now dealing with the effects economically. It affects people’s lives, and that must be addressed,” he said, noting that more Filipinos are going hungry and losing their jobs amid the COVID-19 crisis.
“We do not need those kind of shenanigans nowadays. We must continue to respect each other. At the end of the day, we are an archipelagic country,” he added.
The said tarpaulins were seen at footbridges near the US Embassy in Ermita, Manila, in Parañaque City, on EDSA, and on a billboard along Mendiola Street in Manila.
“Ang teroristang CPP-NPA-NDF ay ‘persona non grata’ sa Metro Manila (The terrorist CPP-NPA-NDF are ‘persona non grata’ in Metro Manila),” the tarpaulins read, referring to the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army, and the National Democratic Front.
It also sported the logos of the PNP and the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) and urged the public to report any information about the said groups to the authorities. However, both agencies denied involvement in the placing of the tarpaulins.
“While it is true that we have different political perspectives, views, that I respect. I may agree with you, I may disagree with you, but there is time for politics, there is time for personal political beliefs, and there is time for personal political gain,” the Manila mayor said.
“But for now, what I want for the city of Manila, that we, as Manileños, tayong mga batang Maynila, at ang mga taong dadako sa lungsod ng Maynila ay maging responsableng indibidwal, mapagmalasakit na indibidwal, at displinadong indibidwal (and those who will visit the city of Manila will be responsible, compassionate, and disciplined individuals),” he added.
The local chief executive then warned against those planning to put up more political signs in the city.
“Huwag niyo na ilagay ‘yan sa Maynila, uubusin ko ‘yan. Whether pro-government kayo, anti-government kayo, aalisin ko ‘yan (Do not put those up in Manila, I will remove them all. Whether you be pro- or anti-government, I will remove it). I don’t like shenanigans in our city. There’s so much toxicity already in the hearts and minds in our people. There’s so much animosity among politicians, among political leaders, groups, and beliefs,” he said.