To know that Manila Mayor Isko Moreno has arrived at a scene, one must only look for a swarm of people with their phones held out. They want to take a selfie with Moreno.
This is true from flag ceremonies up to late-night dinners with foundations. The constant stream of people pulling Moreno aside has in fact been a cause of delay for many of his events, with requests from guests and bystanders stretching what should be a one-minute stroll from the Bonifacio Monument to 10 minutes of photo opportunities. Entering venues take long too as people approach him.
Is there a point where the mayor thinks it has become too much?
According to Moreno, he does not mind at all, because it comes with the job.
“I look at it (taking selfies) as a public service also. If I can make you smile, [give a] certain level of happiness, why not? Because, you know, governance is about making your people happy, superficially and economically,” Moreno said in a Rappler Talk interview on Wednesday, October 3.
He added: “Hanggat kaya, hanggat walang maaapektuhang oras, I try to accommodate as many as possible (As long as we can, and that the schedule will not be disrupted, I try to accommodate as many as possible).”
Moreno the mobile mayor
The remark stresses how Moreno values the power of mobile phones and the internet in his administration.
Within his first 100 days in office, he has reached out to Manileños primarily through his high-powered Facebook page, where his public information team of millennials always makes sure he is live, and where all photographs of his events are posted.
There are commenters on social media who have flagged the overzealous posting as a sign of Moreno being an “epal” (attention-seeker), but Moreno and his public information team believe it is only part of his “engagement” as the mayor.
In an earlier interview with Rappler, public relations expert and former Ateneo de Manila University Communication Department chair Severino Sarmenta said the Facebook strategy works especially when reporters have other issues to cover aside from Moreno. Through his Facebook, he can directly speak to his followers.
At the end of the interview with Rappler, Moreno said one of the things he has learned since assuming office is the importance of “changing the public’s mindset” with his communication team. And this includes pausing for hundreds of people a day to show that their mayor can smile with them even for a few seconds. – Rappler.com