Yes, I will update this blog. Soon.
I am a resident of the City of Manila. For almost 18 years, in fact, I lived a stone’s throw away from the official residence of mayor Lito Atienza at San Andres Bukid. Of course I know the mayor doesn’t actually live there. Okay, I know his son Kim used to live in the area because I actually saw him a number of times, but in all my 18 years in that neighborhood, I only saw the mayor setting foot in the area once—and it was during a campaign.
In fairness to the mayor, though, he seemed to have omnipresent eyes and ears in the neighborhood because most problems were easily addressed and resolved although this did not negate the fact that he did not live in the area.
We moved to Leon Guinto Street in Malate two years ago. I am still living in Manila and will probably continue to do so given a choice.
I like living in Manila. I like going to those dusty, old quaint shops in Quiapo, Echaque and Mabini. I like the hustle bustle of Divisoria, even the mysterious blend of innocence and danger of Recto. I like the bohemian character of Adriatico at night, or the grand narrative of the Fort Santiago area. There’s nothing quite like the old charm of this historic city. I am biased but I think that despite the decay, Manila is still one of the best places in the country. Obviously, my affection for this city is grounded solely on sentimental reasons. But that’s just me.
I am having a hard time trying to fathom the motivations of the people who are falling all over themselves to become mayor of this city. There must be really something in this city that is worth giving up a senatorial or congressional seat for. Who actually buys that yarn about people wanting to become mayor of Manila purely for sentimental reasons? One will spend millions of pesos on a campaign to get an emotional high or to reclaim family honor? Even this sentimental fool does not buy it. And let’s not even go into the supposed noble reasons of public service and the like.
I am aware that all it takes is to be a registered voter in a certain area to be qualified to run for public office in that area. But how can anyone actually have aspirations to become citizen number one of a city he or she does not even consider worthy enough to live in? This is a question that I have been dying to ask for sometime now because I know that a lot of local executives actually do not live in the city where they seek elective posts.
So may I ask who among Senators Panfilo Lacson and Alfredo Lim, Vice Mayor Danny Lacuna, Reps. Joey Hizon and Rodolfo Bacani, former Rep. Mark Jimenez and commercial model Borgy Manotoc actually live in Manila?
Okay, lest I be accused of being guilty of discrimination, let’s be democratic and ask: who among those running for elective posts in any city in Metro Manila actually lives in the city where they are seeking an elective post? I know it is not required under the law, but surely this is a moral issue. This is a credibility issue. Heck, this is an election issue. If we require residency status for beauty contestants, shouldn’t this be required for those seeking mayoralty posts? It would be unthinkable to have a President who lives outside the country, or a governor who lives outside the province.
So you want to become mayor of Manila? Vacate your mansion inside the posh Ayala Alabang Village at Muntinlupa, or your penthouse condominium unit at the Pacific Towers in Makati or the Serendra at Taguig and move to Manila. Be a resident and see how it is to live among those you govern.
And while we are at it, let me express my utter dismay at the blatant low regard that the Marcoses have for this city. I thought it was a joke until the honorable representative from Ilocos Norte started to enumerate Borgy Manotoc’s supposed “qualification” to become mayor of Manila, among them, genetics (I hope she was talking about the Manotoc genes).
Let me make this clear. I have nothing against commercial models. I think it would be great if more good-looking people with proven expertise and qualification run for public office. God knows we need a respite from the clowns and the bitter old fogeys who currently dominate our political scene. But Borgy for mayor of Manila? Oh please. Aside from making gazillions of money by capitalizing on good looks, the guy has not proven anything yet that makes him worthy of consideration even for the post of barangay captain.
I know that there is no chance that Borgy will win in next year’s elections and that this whole thing is probably a trial balloon designed to check public reaction to the idea. But that’s precisely what gets my ire! What do these people think of us, citizens of this city—stupid, unthinking, gullible playthings that they can manipulate? As if it is not bad enough that these people have not even apologized for the grievous sins their family inflicted on the Filipino people and that they continue to profess their innocence to high heavens, they now have the gall to toy with the electorate of Manila? The nerve of these people!
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The long drawn-out real-life soap opera that is the recent nursing board examinations is one fine example of what is wrong in our system. Here we have a situation that could have been resolved immediately if only someone stepped in and took full responsibility for the investigation and subsequent decisions very early on. But because we are country that takes pride in our own twisted version of democracy, everybody had to get into the act—Malacañang, the Senate, the National Bureau of Investigation, the Court of Appeals, the Department of Labor and Employment, the Board of Nursing, the Professional Regulatory Commission, the deans of the different nursing schools, the various nursing associations, various student groups. And of course, media.
Everybody is insisting that his or her point of view is the only correct one. Everybody claims to be after the common good. Nobody wants to listen. Nobody wants to give in. Shall we be surprised that the issue cannot be resolved?