Presidential aspirant Isko Moreno: His Executive Order No. 1 (if he wins) & his being a carpenter and farmer (if he doesn’t win)

NEW BEGINNINGS - Büm D. Tenorio Jr. - The Philippine Star
Presidential aspirant Isko Moreno: His Executive Order No. 1 (if he wins) & his being a carpenter and farmer (if he doesnât win)
‘This is my working table. Magulo sa dami ng trabaho,’ says Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, who starts working at 5 a.m.

Life and livelihood will form part of his Executive Order No. 1 if Manila Mayor Isko Moreno becomes the next tenant of Malacañang.

If the presidential aspirant, however, is not successful in his bid to become the 17th President of the Philippines, he is also certain of his action plan: “I will retire as a public servant.”

“If I don’t make it to Malacañang, maybe I will be a carpenter, a farmer,” he says, as he fixes some of the papers on his long working table, a huge slab of narra. He’s been in the office since 5 a.m., a habit, especially on a Monday. From time to time, he gives his undivided attention to his “other woman,” his two-year-old Ovcharka named “Yorme.”

But the real “Yorme” is keen on focusing on his goals if ever destiny favors him. “I’ll focus on the people, their life and livelihood,” he says.

“Given a chance to take the lead in the country, we will do our best for the pandemic to become endemic. We will protect the people. Save as many lives as soon as possible. Every life,” he adds.

If elected president, he will create more facilities like the Manila COVID-19 Field Hospital, which was put up a year ago. The hospital was built for COVID patients in the city, with 344 beds.

Isko says the city always has ready anti-viral meds for the residents of Manila for free. Add to this the usual procurement of pulmonary equipment for city government hospitals.

“You see, (regarding) the COVID situation in Manila, we always try to be ahead of the situation. We always think of the worst situation. Modesty aside, Manila is the most dense city in terms of population per square kilometer. But look at our data. Nagkakaroon kami ng surge, pero kita mo, 100,000 infections, sa two million night population, three million daytime population. The infection is five percent of our population. Dikit-dikit kami dito,” he says of how the pandemic is being handled in the city.

If he becomes president, he will raise the confidence of the people by creating “certainty of our rules and predictability in our goals.” He says, “Rules should be implemented for everyone, walang mahirap, walang middle-class. Walang mayaman.”

“Meritocracy” will be his standard in choosing his Cabinet members. “If you’re good, you’re hired. Whether you voted for me or not. You’ll be part of government kung magaling ka — bakla, tomboy, babae, lalake, bata, matanda, mahirap, middle-class o mayaman,” he says.

Manila Mayor and presidential aspirant Isko Moreno with his ‘other woman,’ Yorme, a two-year-old Ovcharka.

Duterte wannabe?

Will he be like President Duterte if he becomes president?

“I don’t know what that question means. Is it bad? I can be a Magsaysay, I can be a Quezon, I can be a Duterte, I can be whoever because that’s your impression. But I’m Francisco Domagoso,” he says.

“Meron tayong pagkakahalintulad sa buhay man o sa nakaraan na. But every human being is distinct. Since time immemorial, I’m trying to excel in my field of undertaking or task,” he explains.

Excelling in his field of undertaking is shown that day when he begins signing the certificates of unit assignments of 174 families in Tondominium, one of the high-rise housing projects of Isko in the city. Each family will occupy a 44-sq-m unit that cannot be sold. The owner of the unit will remit P2,000 to the city government every month. The payment of each unit owner will be deposited in the bank. The interest will be used for the upkeep of the housing project. If the time comes when the owner wants to leave the unit, he or she can give it back to the city government. The monthly P2,000 he or she remitted to the city government will be returned in full once the unit is returned to City Hall.

That and more are the projects Isko wants to replicate for the country.

Marcos apologist?

Will he favor the Marcoses if he becomes president?

“They are citizens of this country. They can avail (themselves) of all the rights that can be afforded to every Juan dela Cruz.

“But we will create certainty. Those who violated, committed crimes should pay, whoever they are. (In) the same manner, no abuse will come to anyone because they are political opponents,” he says.

The Manila mayor has a folding bed in his office that he uses when he needs to sleep at City Hall to monitor COVID cases.

His biggest advantage

“My age is my biggest advantage. My youth,” says the 47-year-old city mayor. He has been a public servant “for 24 years now.”

“In this trying time, kailangan mong maghanap ng mabilis na kilos, tunay na solusyon, mabilis na aksyon.

“You will see a different government. A real one, a people-oriented government. It’s always about the people. It’s supposed to be that way. Not because they are elitists, oligarchs, they are poor or middle-class. It’s always how you look at people, how you govern the people. How you administer the people,” he says.

‘Poor third’

Isko is not bothered by the surveys. “They say I’m the ‘poor third.’ Good luck — that’s my reaction. Palaging may awa ang Diyos.”

“Ano pa ba naman ang hahanapin ko sa buhay? Galing ako sa basurahan.

“Ano ba ang purpose ko sa mundo? Basurero ako dati umabot ako sa ganitong katatayuan. What is my purpose? Laging may awa ang Diyos,” he says.

Isko says he misses his late parents — his father was a stevedore; his mom, a laundrywoman — more especially now when he faces challenges. The last time he cried was when his mom died two years ago.

Though he does not involve his loving wife and five children in his dealings with politics, he finds them his biggest anchor. “My loving wife Dynee cooks for me. She cooks well. She’s a Bicolana.”

There were months in the past that he did not see his family because he had to be hands-on with monitoring the pandemic in the city. His 30-sq-m office at City Hall is normally turned to become his “home” when the need arises. He also has a comfortable folding bed and a massage chair in his office.

He relaxes by going to “Google University and YouTube College” to learn more about carpentry and farming. “Because I like to build and I also like to understand the plight of the farmers and how to have food security,” he says.

But he is fearless when he says that if the electorate will not give him the presidency, the knowledge he gains from Google and YouTube will also be beneficial “when I become a farmer or carpenter.”

“May awa ang Diyos,” he repeats.

(For your new beginnings, e-mail me at [email protected]. I’m also on Twitter @bum_tenorio and Instagram @bumtenorio. Have a blessed weekend.)


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