As Manila celebrates its 446th anniversary, Filipinos are being reminded again why the the historically and commercially rich city has been the capital of the Philippines for centuries. With its P4-billion debts back in 2013, right before Erap took his seat as the mayor, it was hard to remember why Manila was originally dubbed as the “Pearl of the Orient.”
Manila, always at the forefront of commerce and business, had had consistently made headlines—but for not so good reasons. Pollution, crimes and a total downfall into debts and economical failures, Manila had had its shares of tribulations. Former president Joseh Estrada, a true blue Manileno, had seen his hometown’s dark days when he was welcomed with the P4-billion debts in June 2013. But just like the hero he was in his films, Erap has turned the doomed days of Manila into just another phase of strengthening the city. By 2018, the city has paid off its 4-billion peso debts, and has enjoyed higher employment rate for the Manilenos.
The mayor has focused his projects on hi 10-point agenda, projects that are solely aimed at improving the city’s condition on Peace & Order, Health, 3. Housing / Urban Settlement, Transportation & Traffic, Cleanliness, Education, Sports, Governance, Transparency and People Participation Starting from the Basics. With the goals of lessening debts and generating revenues, Mayor Erap has addressed the economic issues head-on by solving seemingly basic, but truly impactful problems such as Manila’s peace and safety problems.
Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada has linked forces with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in empowering lower barangays to deal with all kinds of security threats.
“The efforts of AFP to insulate our communities from violent extremist ideologies, and from the influence of groups seeking to recruit individuals for their radical activities, will have long-term benefits as we seek to create a peaceful and progressive city,” the mayor said at his press con in 2017.
The community support program is a military initiative that seeks to build conflict-resilient communities that will be able to independently address all kinds of threats, particularly terror threats and natural calamities and disasters. The effort was directed towards “ending the radicalization and polarization, and improve the prospects for peace and unity”, said Erap.
Health is wealth
Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada and Department of Social Welfare & Development (DSWD) has sealed the Memorandum of Agreement that has intensified and broadened the coverage of the Lingap sa Masa (Lingap at Gabay Para sa May Sakit) program’s implementation in the City of Manila. Lingap’s core objective of providing free medicines stems from President Rodrigo Duterte’s firm commitment to care for the health needs of indigents and other vulnerable sectors as well as needy government workers. The president has allocated P1-billion for the program, and Mayor Estrada expressed his gratitude that Manila’s own health initiatives for the poor would receive a great boost through the formalization of the MOA. He has also improved public hospitals and has given away free wheelchairs to the elders.
An “All-Star” Education for A Better Future Erap has always put education at the top of his priority projects. The city ahs invested on the education more than ever. In April, the local government gave away 7,196,000 cash incentives to 1,161 K-12 graduate students.
I want you to be the best. I am giving you cash incentives because you strove to be the brightest students and not just average students of Manila,” he said.
Aside from educational cash assistance, free school and PE uniformsand other schools supplies, the mayor also gave away 2, 508 pairs of “Erap All-Stars Shoes”. On the first day of school at Bacood Elementary School students from kinder to sixth grade got not just footwear from the mayor, but also a message of encouragement. The mayor emphasized that the shoes are for the true “superstars” of Manila.
Better public transporation
A huge chunk of bettering the economy is investing on better traffic of transporations . In his persistent efforts to clear Manila’s major roads of obstructions and improve traffic flow, Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada is re-intensifying his drive against illegal parking that he said has become a milking cow for profiteering syndicates. And to put those money-making syndicates out of business, Estrada launched the Manila-wide Mapping and No Parking Zone program that involves the strict enforcement of the city’s policies against illegal parking.
Furthermore, he has improved the road situation by giving away electric tricycles (e-trikes) to driver beneficiaries in Binondo. Aside from bettering the transportation landscape in Manila, it has been poised to lessen pollution and provide means of livelihood.
“This is primarily a livelihood program with the main objective of providing our poor tricycle and kuliglig (motorized pedicabs) drivers an ‘upgraded’ public transport vehicle which they can call their own and from which they could earn more”, he said.
Today, Manila has indeed become debt-free. It is on its way to being the home of world-class real estate developements poised to offer more economic opportunities for all. If there’s one thing Erap has proven, addressing the basic issues in excellent and focused ways can make a world of difference.