By Erma Edera
Manila mayoral Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso vowed to revitalize what he described as Manila’s “deteriorating” physical development by building more green projects and more breathing spaces in the city should he be elected in the May 13 midterm elections.
He likewise expressed his opposition to Manila Bay reclamation, saying his priority is to develop the commercial districts of Binondo and Ermita.
“We need to maximize the limited land space and we need to catch up with other Metro Manila cities that have been constructing commercial and modernize hubs,” Domagoso said during the Manila Bulletin’s MB Hot Seat roundtable discussion on Thursday.
The former vice mayor plans to pattern his development plan for Manila from Singapore’s hybrid city development perspectives without consuming too much space. This will be part of Domagoso’s 10-year infrastructure plan intended to boost jobs, healthcare, and tourism.
One of his projects include building a new city hall at Liwasang Bonifacio to give employees spacious working spaces. The historic old city hall will be converted into a museum, cultural and retail center.
“I will build a new city hall. But it will not look modern. It is modern in terms of technology and structure. But in design, I would rather go back to history,” he said.
“The city hall, when it was designed by architect Burnham, ang ina-address lang noon ay few thousand Manileños but that was years ago. Today, Manila has about 1.8 million people and 42,000 business establishments,” he said.
Another project that he bared is the Manila Skydeck, an elevated walkway similar to the OCBC Skyway of Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay. It will be built along Roxas Boulevard, in front of the Malate Church and Rajah Sulayman grounds.
The plan to build the Skydeck is in line with his plan to revive the Manila Baywalk to enable citizens and tourists to enjoy the spectacular sunset, the open-air cafes, and the outdoor restaurants
He also proposed a “City Walk” where there will be a massive urban concrete overpass exclusively for pedestrians and bikers along Ermita, Manila.
For informal settlers, he will also build in-city vertical housing units. He planned to put up commercial structures for street vendors in Divisoria, Binondo, and C.M. Recto Avenue to avoid traffic congestion in the area.
No to Manila Bay reclamation
Moreno opposed the Manila Bay reclamation as the old district of Binondo and Escolta can be improved to develop the capital city.
“It’s not my priority. Why? There’s so much to develop in the middle part of the city,” he said.
He also promised to preserve Arroceros Forest Park, Manila’s last lung, also where the present administration wants to build a gym for the Unibersidad de Manila.
“I will not sell Arroceros Forest Park. We will protect… payayabungin, aalagaan pa namin,” he said.
“We will never forget the old Manila but we will make Manila ready for the challenge of the new generation,” he added.
The former Manila vice mayor and Social Welfare undersecretary also said that his first directive if he wins the midterm elections is to “clean up Manila.”
“Managing waste is my expertise since I was once a garbage collector when I was a high school student,” he said.
He would address the waste management problem of the city by improving garbage collection and having an incentive program for village clean-up, and provide permanent job opportunities through the Metro Aide Program.
He would also introduce the Pagkain sa Basura (Food from Garbage) Program through the collection of recyclable materials and trading them into coupons for free food.
Asked about same sex marriage, Domagoso said that he is not in favor of it.
“I’m not in favor. Ayun ang batas. In a civilized world, we are guided by the law. If there is a law, I will support it,” he said.
But he will support the LGBT community by organizing and showcasing activities such as Pride Parade in the city.
“Pride Parade should be in Manila. Because Manila alone, demographically speaking, is the melting pot of the country. Lahat ditto, welcome. It’s a statement from the capital of the country that we respect people,” he said.
With four days left before the elections, Moreno hopes that he can reach more Manileños to share his platforms.
“We’ll do motorcades, more consultations, forums. We’ll do house to house, miting de avance until 11:59 of May 11,” he said.
For the 44-year-old actor-turned-politician, he saw his age both his strength and weakness.
“Mas lamang sakin yung dalawa sa edad, sa edad nagkakaroon ng wisdom. Kung sisiyasatin natin base sa edad. Imagine the experience that they have gathered through the years of public service. Pero napagbigyan na namin sila. I know Manila physically, demographically,” he said.
“So kung ano man ang kalamangan ko sa kanila, I have more energy, I can take the risk of trying things,” he said.
“We are giving Manila a better option,” he said.
Moreno served in Manila’s first district in 1998. After three terms, he ran for vice mayor in 2007 and served for two consecutive terms. #MatalinongBoto2019