Manila’s ‘resurrection’ soon
Joining the millions of Christian religious groups worldwide in celebrating Jesus Christ’s resurrection or rising again from the dead, Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada on Sunday said Manila, after suffering from neglect and decay, is now on its own resurrection as the Pearl of the Orient.
“Our beloved city and its citizens suffered so much for years. We witnessed the worsening of peace and order here, and the aggravation of unemployment, homelessness, and almost total decay,” Estrada lamented.
“American author Dan Brown even described Manila as the ‘gates of hell,’” the mayor exclaimed.
Brown, in his 2013 novel “Inferno,” told of “a visitor to Manila who was taken aback by poverty, crime and prostitution in the city.”
“Gone are those days when such negative characteristics were used in describing Manila. Now, you can see the city springing back to life. Businesses, commerce and industries are thriving here; the citizens are regularly receiving social services that they never received before; and the civil service has been professionalized,” Estrada said.
“Much have been done, but we want to accomplish more. My ultimate dream is to bring back the glory of Manila as the Pearl of the Orient.”
Manila Tourism and Cultural Affairs Bureau chief Solfia Arboladura echoed the mayor.
“Definitely, we are on the right track in bringing back Manila as the Pearl of the Orient. We have plans in the making, big plans, and with the support of the mayor, we are very sure that we would resurrect the former Manila and bring Manila to its former glory,” said Arboladura.
“We want to introduce for Manila its new logo, its new branding, so to speak. For these, we will involve young people, because they are more in tune with the latest trends, branding, and what people search, read and watch on computers,” the lawyer said.
“Also, starting this year, tourism forms part of the criteria for the Seal of Good Governance. We look forward to qualifying for that award, especially through our tourism programs and our close coordination with tourism-oriented businesses, hotels, restaurants, and the like,” said Arboladura.
Arboladura said Manila is in a very advantaged position for having many historical spots and facilities including centuries-old churches which are frequented by multitudes especially during Holy Week.
For her part, City Personnel Office head Miguelita Alonzo said Estrada has indeed brought back to the city’s employees the respect for civil service and boosted their morale as being “true public servants” in consonance with Republic Act 6713, or the Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
She said: “We believe that service to the people of Manila is a mission. Everyone knows that Mayor Estrada is being loved by the masses and the poor, and we are called to ensure the delivery of service to the poor who badly needs this.”