Showbiz cannot be taken out of the electoral scene of Manila City what with its incumbent mayor no less than the very actor who rose up to become the highest official of the land, former President and now reelectionist Joseph Ejercito Estrada.
As beloved as “Erap” is in showbiz, however, one of his contenders has found a way to get the attention of chroniclers of both Lifestyle and Entertainment with this promise: “We will reclaim Manila as center of history, culture, arts.”
On Wednesday, incumbent Rep. Amado Bagatsing of the 5th District of Manila laid out his plans for this very important yet largely overlooked component of nation building.
“There’s a need for us, Filipinos, to revisit our history, culture and arts. Not only art for art’s sake but also we can touch base with who we are as a people,” Bagatsing began. “If elected mayor, we will bring back the glory days of Manila and rescue it from the urban decay that is the result of the neglect and apathy of the present and past administrations.”
Enumerating his plans, the mayoralty candidate, whose numbers are said to be on the rise compared to his two opponents, Estrada and former Manila mayor Alfredo Lim, said he would begin by a close involvement with the revival and reconstruction of the Metropolitan Theater, as well as spearheading inventories of movie theaters, and an active support for the Philippine movie industry, Original Pilipino Music, and the local performing and visual arts.
“We have so many beautiful and socially relevant films, especially those from indie producers and directors. We need to support them as well as those coming out from the yearly Metro Manila Film Festival,” he continued.
He further recognizes the power of the arts to boost the city’s pride, and looks forward to a vibrant creative scene in the capital if elected.
“Roxas Boulevard will be a place for painters and musicians and not beerhouses. There, painters can draw sketches for tourists with the breathtaking Manila Bay sunset as backdrop,” he envisioned. “We will also revive Intramuros and all of our efforts will be in coordination with the hotel and restaurant associations, the police and the barangay.”
Asked how he hopes to achieve such lofty promises for arts, culture and show business, he said he would seek the help of businessmen and work closely with urban planners, historian and artist groups to make sure his plans are pointed to the right direction.
With all that laid out over an hour-long roundtable, it is up to the stakeholders of these industries in Manila City to discern Bagatsing’s glittering promise, and to cast their ballots for him, or still for Philippine Show Business’ big man.