Time to restore Manila’s image
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star) - December 6, 2018 - 12:00am

One of the positive things that I got from the City of Manila was when I started writing about cleaning up the dirty and smelly Manila Bay. I was at the Manila Yacht Club when Manila Bulletin’s Deedee Sitangco sat down with me to see how far we are doing in this clean-up drive. She then told me that former Manila Vice-Mayor Isko Moreno was keenly interested in this project. So before I left for Japan, we had a meeting with Moreno in Rizal Park Café, one of Manila’s iconic centers.

That dinner lasted for three hours and I learned so many things about Isko Moreno…first, that he was an actor in the stable of  Seiko Films of Robbie Tan fame. Little did he know that I was exclusively showing Seiko Films during his heyday and reminded the Vice-Mayor of the actress named Rita Avila… Robbie Tan used my family name to name Rita Avila. So in short, Isko Moreno was just like Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada a movie star except that the man is getting too old, Manila needs a young Mayor to run the City.

Just to name a few Mayors in Metro Manila – we have Abigail Binay of Makati, Rex Gatchalian of Valenzuela, Edwin Olivares of Paranaque,  Laarni “Lani” Lopez Cayetano of Taguig, Carmelita “Menchie” Aguilar Abalos of Mandaluyong, Imelda Aguilar of Las Pinas City and Quezon City’s Herbert Bautista – all of them at a young age. But Manila, supposedly the premier city of the Philippines has an aging Mayor… not to mention former Mayor Alfredo Lim who is also running for Manila Mayor. Their problem is they are pushing 90 years of age, while Isko Moreno is young and energetic at 44 years old.

But for me, the fact that Isko Moreno vowed to help clean up Manila Bay is a commitment that only the young would do. Mind you I didn’t get any such commitments from Mayor Estrada nor former Mayor Alfredo Lim. When Manila was in its height it had mayors Arsenio Lacson, Antonio Villegas and Ramon Bagatsing. These mayors were even more popular than the president of the Philippines. Those were the days that Makati did not even exist and Manila was the Philippines, and the Philippines was Manila.

How things have changed. In those days I used to take the Love Bus to the new town of Makati. I was also one of those who took the first Light Rail Transit (LRT) ride to Baclaran. Today, Manila is being left behind by Taguig, Makati and even Valenzuela, and Manila voters still chose Mayor Erap Estrada despite his poor performance. I dare say that the time for Manila to restore its old image has come and we have Isko Moreno who is more than willing to serve, and above all he has made a commitment to help clean up Manila Bay.

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One of the best things that Pope Francis has done for the Catholic Church was his recent pronouncement that homosexual priests or nuns have no role in the clergy and they are better off resigning their positions. I guess this is an offshoot from what Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano exposed in the Vatican especially after the sexual harrassment cases filed by Hollywood stars, and it has affected the Catholic Church in the United States.

To top it all, Pope Francis made the Philippines famous when he said “The Philippines is one of the greatest Catholic nations in the world.” He continued saying “Indeed, the noble church in the Philippines now stands among the great Catholic nations in the entire world. Hence, no wonder, she continuously sends missionaries to other regions.” Pope Francis apparently told this to Osaka Archbishop Thomse Manyo Cardinal Maeda asking him to be his envoy for the up and coming 60th anniversary of the post-war Manila Cathedral in Intramuros, Manila.

Arch. Vigano revealed to the Pope that a “homosexual network” existed in the Vatican and its members helped promote each other’s careers in the Church. Call this latest interview by Pope Francis a response to Arch. Vigano’s revelation when the Pope said there was “no room for this” in the lives of priests and nuns, adding that the Church had to be “demanding” in choosing candidates for what is known as the consecrated life. “For this reason, the Church urges that persons with this rooted tendency not be accepted into (priestly) ministry or consecrated life,” he said. He urged homosexuals who are already priests or nuns to be celibate and responsible to avoid creating scandal. As Pope Francis said, “It is better that they leave the priesthood or the consecrated life rather than live a double life.” Finally I have gotten the right response to this ugly scandal that has affected many Catholic Church leaders and Pope Francis did wait for a long time to respond to this call… and finally he responded right for the Catholic faith!

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Email: vsbobita@gmail.com.

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