Former-president Joseph Estrada, while conceding that the City of Manila’s problems cannot be resolved overnight, vowed to rid the city of crime and corruption as well as address its waste management woes during his oath taking ceremony on Sunday.
Estrada stressed that he is not “superman” and lamented that the problems of the city will not “disappear like magic.”
However, he said he would do his best to rebuild Manila as the premiere city of the country once again.
Estrada said that he would try to address most of the problems of Manila during his first 100 days as mayor of the city.
Among the problems that he highlighted were: poor waste management that causes flooding in the city, lack of affordable but quality health care for the poor residents of Manila, high crime rate, corruption in the Manila City Hall and Manila police, and poor tax collection.
“Hindi po ako si superman, hindi ko kayang bigyan ang lahat ng ito ng solusyon, hindi magic ang mga problemang ito, dahil ito ay galing sa mahabang panahon at dekada ng kapabayaan [I am not Superman, I cannot solve all of these [problems], these problems are not magic because these resulted from long decades of neglect], ” Estrada said.
However, the Mayor said that he is ready to face these challenges and make changes that will contribute to the progress and development of Manila.
He added that before he addresses other problems, he would first deal with “cleaning” the city.
“We will clean this city . . . We will clean and sweep not only trash, but also corruption, syndicates, and extortionist-policemen,” Estrada said in Filipino.
“Your days are numbered here in Manila. Your days are over in this city . . . I promise you the fight against corruption will be the centerpiece of my administration,” Estrada said, referring to corrupt officials and policemen of the city.
Estrada said that he would make sure that policemen who engage in criminal activities like extortion, involvement in the drug trade, and protection of illegal activities would soon be thrown out of the government service.
“We will apply the full force of the law so that we may become a model city in so far as peace and order is concerned,” the mayor said.
Moreover, Estrada said that he would push for an ordinance that will mandate the use of closed-circuit television cameras in every business establishment in Manila in a bid to curb criminal activities.
To address the flooding in the city, Estrada said that city government would work with other government agencies like the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority to address the problem.
“We will start cleaning our waterways to mitigate flooding . . . We must learn our lessons from last year. Heavy rain fall brought by the monsoon flooded the city . . . We will give our full attention to the cleaning of our esteros and we will relocate those living there to a safer place,” Estrada said.
Moreover, he said that he “will try to strengthen the primary healthcare especially at the barangay level so that there will be a strong system of quality but affordable healthcare for the citizens of Manila.”
The mayor added that he “will try to improve heath financing by coordinating with the Department of Health and PhilHealth,”
Estrada also vowed to improve tax collection in order to finance the mentioned projects.
“Pag-aaralan din natin ang tax code ng lungsod [We will also study the tax code of the city]. We will update and modernize the real property tax collection as well as the release and issuances of business permits and licenses,” he said.
Estrada said under his administration there will be an efficient and systematic tax collection.
“These are the challenges we face today in our city and we need your help by cooperating. If we are to redeem and rebuild what should be the premiere city of the Philippines, we must all lead by example. I will not ask you to do what I am not prepared to do. We will ensure full transparency in all revenue collection, disbursement and expenditures of the city. This is a commitment and conviction of your ex-convict mayor,” Estrada concluded.