Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso has spurned traditional way of political campaigning by candidates who make promises to the people to alleviate them from poverty through sloganeering to convince voters to elect them into office, describing the practice as “poverty porn.”
While Moreno enumerated a slew of solutions to various problems besieging the country, the Aksyon Demokratiko standard-bearer stressed that no amount of promises nor slogan can solve the nation’s ills without hard work.
“Of course, I don’t have a slogan. Because that slogan does not cure human problems. In fact, I call it ‘poverty porn,’ where you rape people’s weakness,” the presidential candidate lamented.
“I, with the volume of the problem, with the speed of the problem, we need real solutions and quick action. That, I can do in my own little way,” Moreno said, during the Presidential One-on-One Interviews with entertainment host Boy Abunda.
Nonetheless, Moreno vowed to address the perennial problems of poverty, hunger, unemployment, inequality and social injustice in the country by focusing on providing the minimum basic needs of the people, such as housing, education, health care and jobs, through the efficient and prudent management of government resources, if elected president in May 2022 elections.
“I do believe the minimum basic needs. When we address housing, education, health care and jobs, this will alleviate the status, the condition of our town,” he said.
“That’s why since time immemorial when I was in government, this is what I am focusing on. When I became mayor, that’s all I did. Housing, schools, hospitals, jobs,” Moreno added.
The 47-year-old presidential aspirant said one only has to look at Manila – literally look up – to see what he is talking about.
Moreno’s impressive infrastructure projects in the Philippine capital include six vertical housing projects for informal settlers that are 15 to 20 floors high, like Tondominium and Binondominium, with some having swimming pools and fitness centers.
Then there are the three modern public-school buildings being built that are 10 floors high, outfitted with around 200 airconditioned classrooms, basketball courts, gyms, and roof decks.
And the just inaugurated 10-story Bagong Ospital ng Maynila has a 384-bed capacity with 12 intensive care units (ICUs), and 20 private rooms. It also has a three-story parking building and a helipad for emergency medical evacuations.
These were all undertaken by the City Government of Manila under Moreno’s leadership to provide Manileños, especially the needy, with quality housing, education, and health care and service.
Besides, these projects were all achieved in a single three-year mayoral term and during a pandemic at that, generating a lot of jobs and income at a time when people greatly needed both.
Moreno said his infrastructure projects not only created direct jobs and income, but also supported a host of industries, like cement, steel, quarry and gasoline, among others, thus providing more jobs and income.
“So you must be aggressive. That is why when I said I will continue the build, build, build of President Duterte, but build more schools, build more hospitals, build more housing. Because this will generate jobs and stimulate our economy, and this creates opportunities to business and to the people,” he told Abunda.
Having said that, Moreno said his administration will ensure that infrastructure and other developments projects will be undertaken in areas where they are needed most to further accelerate the economy and bring about a more inclusive and equitable economic growth.
“That’s why when I said about a few weeks ago, a peso spent in Metro Manila doesn’t give us any growth. The same peso that I’m going to spend in terms of development in Metro Manila, I will spend it in the far-flung areas because it will generate more economic growth and opportunities in the provinces,” Moreno said.
Besides building public schools, hospitals and mass housing, Moreno has earlier promised to build bridges across major islands of the Philippine archipelago which will not just facilitate the exchange of goods and services, but will also serve as tourism circuits and tourism highways.
He also vowed to build post-harvest facilities, build more irrigation systems and improve existing ones, and a national fiber optic backbone, among others.
To further alleviate the plight of the masses and protect industries, Moreno also vowed to work closely with Congress to reduce the taxes on two of most basic of commodities – petroleum and electricity.
Bringing down the cost of fuel and electricity also encourages foreign investors to bring their business in the country, he said.
“You have to create more FDIs. If you create more foreign direct investments, then it will generate more opportunities. At the rate we’re going about $4 billion, yung mga neighboring countries natin, $13 billion, $30 billion. Why? Because our gasoline is very expensive, our electricity is very expensive,” Moreno lamented.
Meanwhile, Moreno said he is against legalizing abortion, even for rape victims, because life is sacred and no human being should take it away.
“Life is life to me. I don’t want abortion. When there is life already, nobody should take it away because God gave it. That’s my personal belief,” Moreno told Boy Abunda.
“Because that child is in the mother’s womb, he has no ability to defend himself. That life, that life. Only God can take it away, not human being,” Moreno added.
The 47-year-old presidential aspirant said this belief in the sanctity of life applies even if the unwanted child was conceived out of incest.
“Social status is not good, impression is not good, for whatever impression, whatever other people say, it may have a bad effect on society, on the status of the mother or the child, but life is life,” Moreno said.
“Every life is important. The lives of the poor, middle class, of the rich are of constant value. The same manner, the unconscious child in the mother’s womb, no matter how he was conceived, in a bad way or in a good way, life is life,” Moreno stressed.
The Aksyon Demokratiko party president said even his campaign against illegal drugs and criminality gives due respect to the sanctity of life and human rights.
“Same thing that I apply to criminals, due process of law will be observed. Equal opportunity, equal chance. The same thing when I value lives of suspected criminals, their rights to due process. The same manner is applied to any life. I don’t like taking life,” Moreno pointed out.
Having said that, Moreno said life is full of challenges and people should learn to live with them, even in the case of a rape victim having an unwanted child.
But rather than be scornful, society must also learn to be compassionate and supporting to the victim to ease the trauma and stigma that she is feeling.
“Life must go on. We must face this challenge. And that’s where the church, the state, the family come in,” he said.
“If there is a therapeutic abortion that are existing, let’s have a therapeutic way of dealing and helping the mother with an unwanted child. There are always two sides of a coin. It’s a difficult situation for a mother, that happened to her but we must go on. We must fight. We must help as a state and as a family,” Moreno said.