MANILA, Philippines – On June 21, Rappler began the #DearErap online campaign as a lead-up to the 442nd Manila Day. Netizens were asked to tweet their hopes and dreams for Manila as if they were addressing them to Joseph “Erap” Estrada, Mayor-elect.
On Manila Day, these “letters” were published in an article along with a longer letter from Manila resident Stephen Pamorada.
What issues were netizens most concerned about when it came to the capital city?
Here is a summary of the #DearErap tweets:
1. Flooding and garbage disposal
Many tweeted their frustration over constant flooding in various parts of Manila, including the University Belt, Intramuros and the Manila Baywalk area.
Netizens recommended fixing the drainage system, rethinking the flood plan for the lowest areas in the city and implementing garbage disposal laws. Esteros (canals and waterways) should be regularly cleaned. Residents should also have the discipline to throw their garbage in the right places so they do not clog the drains.
Pie Ronquillo (@pie_angeli) also suggested that Manila join the “no plastics” cities soon.
2. Traffic and transportation
Traffic in Manila was a major woe of netizens. Based on tweets, traffic is most often caused by bad roads [such as those in Sampaloc, according to Aica Delos Santos (@Mommy_Aica)] and streets crowded by vendors.
There were suggestions to discipline vendors and ensure that they do not invade streets reserved for the flow of cars. Twitter user @mcgregyboi recommended the establishment of “a Commerce Center to remove street vendors especially in Quiapo, Divisoria and Avenida to relieve traffic.”
Lack of discipline among drivers also causes heavy traffic. Tweets asked Mayor-elect Erap to discipline drivers — jeepney, pedicabs and kuliglig drivers were those most mentioned — who do not follow traffic rules.
Safety and security were among the most mentioned issues. Students bewailed the pickpockets and hooligans who make the University Belt area a fearful place at night.
To fix this problem, Mayor-elect Erap can “establish strict and formal transportation terminals and drop-off for the security of U-belt students.” Another suggestion was to station more police patrols in the area.
Netizens also asked for better lighting of Manila streets as a way to make them safer to walk in at night.
4. Heritage, aesthetics and quality of life
Many also called for the preservation of Manila’s heritage and the beautification of the city that was once famed as the “Paris of Asia.”
Many wished for Manila City Hall to revive the glory of Manila Baywalk, Escolta, Malate, Roxas Boulevard, Hidalgo Street, Plaza Miranda and Intramuros. The Metropolitan Theater — an Art Deco gem sadly abandoned and in a state of decay — was specifically mentioned by netizens as being in sore need of attention.
Bien Bullicer said that preserving these sites and making Manila more tourist-friendly can help attract more invesments and businesses while making the outlook of Manila residents more positive.
Martina Louise (@mar_tiniwi) tweeted, “#DearErap I’d love Manila’s historic places to be preserved and cleaned. We don’t need another Makati or the Fort. We need our history.”
Netizens were very supportive of planting more trees in Manila and creating more parks for the people. – Rappler.com