Saying he just wanted to be fair and honest, Manila Mayor Francisco Domagoso flatly said Sunday he does not know what to do with the West Philippine Sea in case he runs for President.
“You asked me about—what will I do with West Philippine Sea? Huh.... I only know about Manila Bay... because I wanted to be fair with you guys,” said Domagoso, when questioned if he would run for the presidency.
“Will I qualify as President? No, I still haven’t done big things for Manila,” said the former actor, who went by the screen name Isko Moreno.
Domagoso, who was also a councilor and vice mayor, also assured he would not take advantage of his current fame and popularity to join the presidential bandwagon in the coming May 2022 elections.
He lamented that a lot of people had used their popularly to seek elective positions, but in the end, they failed in their job and eventually, the people suffered.
“When they were already there, they failed to manage the country and the people. They failed, and people suffered,” related Domagoso, who vowed he would not let himself be a part of the people’s sufferings.
Being born and brought up in the slums of Tondo, the country’s face of poverty, the phenomenal rise of Domagoso to Manila’s highest seat thrust him into the limelight. He continues to make waves here and abroad, due to significant changes he made in the country’s capital.
Ambassadors, consuls, and leaders from across the world have been meeting Domagoso to offer help or just congratulate him for saving the deteriorating Manila due to “wanton neglect, mismanagement, and corruption” under the past administrations.
“I know you are frustrated already,” Domagoso told his supporters amid the mounting clamor for him to join the presidential race.
“Am I qualified? Not yet. Because what I am doing (in Manila) is just basic governance,” he noted.
If there’s one good thing about what they are doing in Manila, Domagoso said many local government units are now emulating them. He cited a saying in the 1960s, which states: “Where Manila goes, the country is following.”
Domagoso said he is grateful that people are considering him for the presidency due to improvements in Manila despite him being its mayor for just under three months.
Setting aside politics, Domagoso said he and his team had buckled down to work since Day 1. He said he owes the people of Manila a better governance, and a better community, peaceful and environmentally friendly for supporting him and believing in his capability to lead them out of the chaos, including “anarchy” in the streets of the city.
“I owe you that much. So, we are trying to move heaven and earth to offer better things to the people of Manila and to those people who would visit Manila,” said Domagoso.
According to the young mayor, he ought to manage “day-in and day-out” the 1.8 million Manila residents and the 1.2 million visitors. Because of this tough job, Domagoso said politics should take a backset and they should focus first on their present job.
If he is only after power, Domagoso said he may aspire for a higher position like the presidency because being the President is more powerful than being a mayor.
“But I swear to God, what we have been doing here since July 1 has nothing to do with May 2022. This is all about chaos, the problems and the challenges Manila are facing,” he said.
He took notice that the people of Manila has long suffered, the reason for kicking them out, all of them, outside of public office.
While not mentioning any name, Domagoso was obviously referring to former President Joseph Estrada whom he defeated in a landslide victory in the last May 11 elections.
Estrada, who sought a third term of office lost to Moreno. His sons, former Senator Jinggoy Estrada and re-electionist Senator JV Ejercito, failed to make it in their senatorial bid.
A daughter of the former mayor by former actress Laarni Enriquez also lost when she ran for a congressional seat for Tondo district in Manila.
“This is more than a statement of frustrations of the people of Manila. All were kicked out of public office,” pointed out Domagoso.
What happened, Domagoso said, was more than enough to get their attention of addressing the situation of Manila and the goals, dreams, and aspirations of the people of Manila.
“And I would be rather busy attending to it,” guaranteed the 44-year old mayor who said he would use his youth to have a better Manila.
The actor-turned-politician said his dream of Manila is literally to create an “orchestra” composed of different instruments playing one song or music in harmony conducted by only one to have an order and direction for the city.
And for himself- Domagoso said his dream then back in a squatter colony of Tondo was to be a seaman and a captain in a boat. But to achieve his dream, he needs to go to school to become a seaman.
So, he needs to work his way to fend for his schooling, working as a garbage collector and a sidecar boy.
But as fate would have it, he was spotted in a funeral wake by a talent manager who brought him into the world of showbiz.
Feeling blessed, he entered politics to return his blessings through public service.
He conceded though that as his post in politics became high, he dreams for higher post. “Let’s cross the bridge when we get there,” he added.