Makati City Mayor Abby Binay (center) with Makati City Rep. Luis Campos and former Vice President Jejomar Binay during PeopleAsia’s ‘Women of Style and Substance’ awards.
Photo by Bernardo Batuigas
The Ab-by-Cs of being Makati mayor
PEOPLE - Joanne Rae M. Ramirez (The Philippine Star) - September 27, 2019 - 12:00am

PeopleAsia magazine honored recently its “Women of Style and Substance,” and among them was Makati City Mayor Abigail “Abby” Binay. Her proud father,  former Vice President and Makati mayor Jejomar Binay, was there to applaud his daughter. It was a rare public appearance for Binay, now a renewed Catholic who attends Bible study sessions in the home of Fely Arroyo (the late senator Joker Arroyo’s wife) every Wednesday with over 50 other devotees.

(PeopleAsia’s “Women of Style and Substance” for 2019 include Sen. Pia Cayetano, Dr. Jennie Diaz, PAGCOR chairman Andrea Domingo, BPI Family Savings Bank president Ginbee Go, journalist Pia Hontiveros, Anna Mae Lamentillo, businesswoman Small Laude, real estate developer Carmen Jimenez Ong, PLDT SVP Chaye Cabal Revilla, Dr. Rebecca Singson, singer-composer Moira dela Torre, restaurateur Happy Ongpauco-Tiu, businesswoman Che Uy and style influencer Laureen Uy.)

“My role model is my father, former Vice President Jejomar ‘Jojo’ Binay,” Abby says proudly. “Ever since I was little, my dad would tease and call me ‘Atty. Abby.’ My dad has been in politics for more than three decades and he taught me that good governance is equivalent to good economics.”

A lawyer just like her father wanted her to be, Abby says of the Binay patriarch: “Just like me, he is a revolutionary at heart.”

Abby, who is on her second term as mayor, returned to office on a high note. For the second straight year, the Makati City government got an “unqualified opinion” from the Commission on Audit, which examined its 2018 financial statements. An unqualified opinion is the highest achievable audit rating.

It was an emotionally bruising political battle Abby underwent for the mayoralty race, as her only brother also gunned for the post. I once asked Abby what gave her the strength to reach the finish line. (Her father, however, lost in his own quest to be Makati congressman.)

“Strength comes from knowing that you’re doing what is right.  In my case, it was doing what is best for Makati. I fought for transformational leadership and governance.”

It was a tense fight. With her dad in her corner and her mother in her brother’s, did she see winning as the only option?

“I wouldn’t call winning an option. It is a means to achieve a greater end. Makati is moving forward with unprecedented inroads in technology, transportation, digital education, health care, etc. It is unthinkable to even pause in doing what we are determined to achieve.”

Abby is a straight talker. When asked what the people of Makati voted for when they elected her, she says simply, “Performance.”

“They voted for me because they have experienced significant changes in their lives for the past three years. During my first term, I had implemented new reforms and innovations in the way we serve them, such as providing better health and social benefits, upgrading school and disaster equipment, and building infrastructure aimed at accelerating sustainable development and economic stability for the city.”

Abby emphasizes, “It is not just about my name but what I have done for the people of Makati. These include the introduction of the Makatizen card, an ID that consolidates all the health and social benefits for residents; the Makatizen App, the first digital citizen app in the country that allows users to report crimes, accidents, and other concerns; and free Wi-Fi connection in 24 barangays and soon in three more.”

Abby, however, doesn’t want the people to think that all good things come from the government. She told PeopleAsia magazine in an interview that she wants to ask the people of Makati: What can you do in return?

“It is the counterpart that we still inculcate in them,” she says.

She said this may be as simple as properly disposing of their trash, or just taking good care of themselves and their bodies.

“Exercising political will and fulfilling promises are sure-fire ways to gain the love and respect of people” are the ABCs of being an effective mayor, according to Abby.

And what does she demand of herself?

“How do I outdo myself?” she answers in a heartbeat.

‘Like shopping in Singapore’

Singapore President Halimah Yacob and BDO chairperson Tessie Sy Coson.
Photo by Hermes Joy Tunac

Singapore President Halimah Yacob graced recently the official opening of The Podium, one of the highlights of her state visit. Her visit also commemorated the 50th anniversary of Philippine-Singapore diplomatic ties.

The Podium is a joint venture between the Philippines’ BDO Unibank and Singapore’s Keppel Land Limited.

“The project clearly demonstrates the shared optimism of Keppel and BDO on the growth prospects of the Philippines’ retail and office sector as economic growth and domestic demand remain strong. Filipinos love going to the mall and every time they will go to The Podium, we like them to think they are inside one of the shopping malls in Singapore,” said BDO Unibank chairperson Tessie Sy Coson during the inauguration.

Tessie Sy Coson, Singaporean Ambassador Gerard Go and Keppel Land president Oh Lock Soon.
Photo by Joanne Rae Ramirez

Following the opening ceremony, President Yacob toured Singaporium, a lifestyle and food pop-up fair, inside the mall. I saw the President checking out some RTW while Mrs. Coson lingered near the laksa stand. (The laksa was excellent, by the way.)

Strategically located in the heart of the Ortigas Business District, The Podium complex is redefining the skyline with its sleek, sophisticated design and innovative green initiatives. It will be comprised of The Podium Mall, which opened in 2002,  the BDO Corporate Tower and the Podium West Tower.

(You may e-mail me at Follow me on Instagram @joanneraeramirez.)

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