Belmonte, Moreno asked: Does Metro Manila need an elected governor?

Loreben Tuquero

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Belmonte, Moreno asked: Does Metro Manila need an elected governor?

LeAnne Jazul

The MMDA chairman is a presidential appointee who coordinates with 17 elected metro mayors

MANILA, Philippines – Manila’s Isko Moreno and Joy Belmonte of Quezon City, the two Metro Manila mayors who participated in the 2019 Manila Social Good Summit Saturday, September 21, gave differing views on how to govern the sprawling metropolis. 

The two were part of the panel which discussed how to make metro areas livable. Also with them in the panel was urban planner Paulo Alcazaren. 

Belmonte and Moreno, the chief executives of the country’s two biggest cities, were asked what they thought of the current situation that the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) was chaired by a person who was not elected, and yet coordinated with the 17 elected metro mayors.

Moreno said Metro Manila should elect its governor. He, however, maintained that the current government system should not be changed.

For her part, Belmonte said federalism would have made the metropolis a region with one elected governor.

In a federal form of government, Metro Manila would be a state that could decide and implement its own policies with little to no interference by the national government. (READ: Will federalism address PH woes? Pros and cons of making the shift)

But while Moreno said that the idea of electing a Metro Manila governor made sense, he did not want to change the government. Instead, he just wanted to work within the current system.

Meron nang gobyerno (We already have a government). In fact, I’ll tell you honestly… you can call it communism, you can call it capitalism, monarchy, federalism, parliamentary; immaterial of forms of government, at least may gobyerno. Kung may gobyerno tayo, let’s work on it (at least there is a government. If we have a government, let’s work on it),” Moreno said.

He added that Metro Manila mayors already coordinated on their own.

Even after President Rodrigo Duterte did not mention the push for federalism in his latest State of the Nation Address, Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año affirmed that it was still a priority thrust of the current administration. –

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Loreben Tuquero

Loreben Tuquero is a researcher-writer for Rappler. Before transferring to Rappler's Research team, she covered transportation, Quezon City, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government as a reporter. She graduated with a communication degree from the Ateneo de Manila University.