MANILA, Philippines – “May puting usok na sa city hall (There’s white smoke coming out of the city hall)!” Manila mayoral bet Isko Moreno Domagoso declared on Friday night, May 10, at the tailend of what had proven to be a formidable campaign against reelectionist mayor and political giant Joseph “Erap” Estrada.
White smoke is a reference to the Catholic practice of having white smoke emerge from St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican to signal that the bishops have chosen a new pope.
In a gritty neighborhood in Pandacan, Manila, the crowd responded to Moreno: “May nanalo na! May nanalo na! (Somebody has won).”
There is high morale in the campaign team, Moreno said, thanks to a recent independent survey by RP Mission and Development Foundation Incorporated (RPMDinc) that had his voter preference pegged at 50%, while the 82-year-old Estrada was behind at 33%.
“We tried our best in our own little way to send a very positive campaign – more on programs of governance, our dreams, aspirations,” Moreno told Rappler.
In contrast, Moreno alluded to Estrada’s past two terms as a leadership that is “kulang sa enerhiya, kulang sa pangarap o bisyon (lacking in energy, lacking in ambition or vision.)”
The capital city of Manila has descended into a terrible reputation of being one of the poorest, dirtiest, and, in light of killings in the Duterte administration’s war on drugs, most dangerous cities in the country. (READ: Manila’s war on drugs ‘will respect human rights’ – Isko Moreno)
Moreno’s miting de avance in Pandacan on Friday night was only the 3rd of his 6 mitings de avance that had run from Thursday, May 9, until Saturday, May 11, the last day of campaigning.
Moreno is running on a promise to change Manila, including a 10-year physical development for the city that will address traffic, the trash problem, and tourism.
Moreno said that as Estrada’s vice mayor for one term, he could only do so much.
“Eh kapag kulang sa enerhiya, kulang sa pangarap o bisyon ang isang lider e syempre magiging passive ang lahat, so limited talaga, in fairness sa lahat ng vice mayor sa buong Pilipinas,” Moreno said.
(When the mayor lacks energy, aspiration, or vision, everything will be passive, so what you can do is limited, in fairness to all vice mayors in the country.)
Moreno added: “What is Manila today based sa ‘yo at sa mga manunuod ay resulta lamang ng bagay na ginawa nila kahapon. If you’re happy about what you’re seeing in Manila, I think naging mabuti sila, if you’re not, we’re right na kailangan na siguro ng direksiyon kung saan talaga pupunta ang lungsod ng Maynila.”
(What is Manila today based on you is the result of what they did in the past. If you’re happy with what you’re seeing in Manila, then I think they did well. If you’re not, then we’re right that we need to have a direction for Manila.)
Moreno split from an alliance with Estrada supposedly over broken promises. Moreno was set to run for mayor in 2013, but agreed to be Estrada’s running mate, after Estrada promised that he would seek only one term. Estrada broke this promise in 2016, forcing Moreno to run as senator and lost.
Moreno is now realizing his original plan, at the expense of a former ally.
“So, hopefully, sa awa ng Diyos na palarin nga tayo, maiba naman ang lungsod ng Maynila – masyado naman na kaming nakakawawa, napag-iiwanan na kami ng mga kapitbayan namin,” Moreno said.
(So hopefully by God’s grace we will win, so that we can change Manila. We’ve been so pitiful, being left behind by our neighboring cities.) – Rappler.com