HE is not Superman and the problems of Manila will not “disappear like magic,” but newly installed Mayor Joseph Estrada promised to make it the country’s premiere city once again.
Estrada made the vow at his oath-taking at the Manila City Hall on Sunday.
“I’m appealing for a little more patience, a little more sacrifice and understanding. If I have to go down on my knees I will do so if only to make Manila great again,” the former president said, addressing the crowd in Filipino.
Estrada said he will try to address most of the problems of the city during his first 100 days as mayor. Among the problems he mentioned are poor waste management that causes the flooding in the city, lack of affordable but quality health care for the poor residents, a high crime rate, corruption in City Hall and the police and poor tax collection.
“I am not Superman and I cannot solve the problems with magic because they are the legacy of decades of neglect,” he said.
The first thing he will do is sweep out not only the garbage, but corruption, syndicates and dishonest cops.
He warned mulcting policemen and hoodlums: “Your days are numbered here in Manila. Your days are over in this city. Tapos na ang maliligayang araw nyo… tapos na… tapos na… tapos na (It’s over, over, over).”
Estrada said he “will clean up the police force and see to it that they [Manila police] will truly be Manila’s finest and not Manila’s worst.”
“This is a warning and a wake-up call to the police officers who engage in criminal activities—from ‘kotong’ to drug dealing… from extortion to protection of ‘rackets’ and other abuses—I ask you to reform because we will go after you…” the mayor said.
Estrada said he will endorse an ordinance that will require the use of Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras in every business establishment in Manila.
To address the flooding in the city, he said city government will work hand-in-hand with other government agencies like the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).
He said that Vice President Jejomar Binay, who is also chairman of the housing and urban development, promised to help in relocating the people living along the esteros.
Estrada said 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.”
Estrada noted that all these projects needed funding.
“May kasabihan po tayo na hindi tatakbo ang sasakyan kung walang gasolina. Marami po tayong kailangan iayos sa revenue generation and tax collection. (We have a saying, a car won’t run unless it has gasoline. We need to improve revenue generation and tax collection)…We will update and modernize the real property tax collection as well as the release and issuances of business permits and licenses,” he said.
“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 said.
FATIMA CIELO B. CANCEL