Since 2019, Manila has been abuzz with various projects under Mayor Isko Moreno. From installing light fixtures on public roads to constructing new infrastructures for the benefit of Manileños, the Manila mayor’s ambition for his city towers higher than the buildings he erected under his version of the “Build, Build, Build” program, which he calls “Build, Build Manila.”
He held back no expense in constructing new buildings to address concerns from his constituents like housing, health, and recreation. After all, he was on a mission to rehabilitate Manila as a part of his commitment to the people.
Recreational sites in Manila
Just outside Manila City Hall, Moreno set his sights on the Katipunan Revolution Monument and the spacious area in front of it frequented by commuters, students, and vendors. Before he assumed the mayoral position, the area was known as a parking area for trucks and a dumping ground for various pieces of equipment.
Moreno’s early projects focused on rehabilitating the Katipunan Revolution Monument. The once barren location became a sprawling park, now known as Hidden Garden in Lawton, complete with a cemented walkway, rustic fixtures, and lush greenery.
As more people flocked to the area to experience its beauty amid the city, Moreno added other features to the Hidden Garden in Lawton by establishing a cafe where people can relax, study, or catch up with friends. The revamped Katipunan Revolution Monument makes it worthy of its location beside Manila’s seat of government.
Manileños welcomed this change with open arms, becoming more curious about the extent of Moreno’s vision for the city. Not long after, the surrounding area of Lawton received Moreno’s attention.
For instance, the Lagusnilad Underpass connecting the Manila City Hall to Intramuros receives a huge volume of foot traffic every day. Manileños know it as an area teeming with vendors peddling their wares and a decrepit interior signifying its overuse throughout the years. Moreno relocated the vendors and invested in the development of the Lagusnilad Underpass.
What once was a narrow area where people trudged through broken tiles, and navigated their way through a crowd of passers-by and vendors, became a spacious, well-lit, and eye-catching area. Photos of breathtaking Manila line the walls of the Lagusnilad Underpass, persuading passers-by to take photos or selfies in the revamped location.
Several feet away, the Mehan Garden wasn’t exempt from Moreno’s bid to beautify Manila to delight his constituents and show visitors that the city deserves to be the Philippines’ capital. The 22nd Manila mayor personally inspected the garden, noting several changes to improve its area. Eventually, cleaning operations and the installation of new light fixtures added to the nature of Mehan Garden, surprising Manileños further.
Mehan Garden hosted several events, including some speeches from Moreno, like night markets, free concerts, and several food stalls. Aside from bringing fun to Manileños, these events also aimed to generate income to help business owners and other industries recover from the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, Moreno’s most ambitious project when it comes to recreational areas in Manila is the rehabilitation and reopening of the Manila Zoo. Countless Manileños grew up visiting Manila Zoo, watching the animals go about their day, engaging in various outdoor activities, and making the most out of the day. Yet, at some point, the Manila Zoo and its animals lost their former glory.
Moreno took on the task of restoring Manila Zoo’s grandeur, while modernizing its facilities to create a different level of experience for its guests. Modern fixtures embellish the newly developed Manila Zoo and have new features like a viewing deck for hippopotamuses, an interactive enclosure for monkeys, and a butterfly sanctuary for visitors to enjoy.
Various species of flora are also highlighted in the zoo as it surrounds a picnic area where guests can relax and spend quality time with their loved ones.
Significant infrastructures for health and housing
One of the most relevant projects Moreno has achieved in his administration is the establishment of the Bagong Ospital ng Manila. It boasts of modern fixtures, including a helipad, to better treat Manileños who sorely need better medical attention. Aside from its imposing, modern facade, the new hospital also houses new pieces of medical equipment ready to address patients’ needs.
The Bagong Ospital ng Manila is a 10-story, fully-airconditioned building with a bed capacity of 384, including 12 intensive care units and 20 private rooms, and amenities like the three-story parking building.
Moreno’s decision to construct the new hospital near Manila Bay may also help in patients’ recovery as some rooms have a full view of the dazzling sunset and sunrise on the famous tourist sight. After all, a strong mental fortitude also aids in combatting numerous diseases.
Since Manila faces problems of overpopulation, Moreno also had several housing projects done during his administration. It’s no secret that he came from the slums of Tondo before he made a breakthrough in the entertainment industry. He also draws inspiration from Singapore’s public housing program. He aims to replicate it in the city of Manila. As a result, one of his many promises to Manileños includes housing in several key locations throughout the city.
For instance, in the Tondo district, one of the most densely populated areas in Manila and its largest slum area, two residential buildings called Tondominium 1 and 2 were constructed to address the housing problems in the city. The combined buildings have a total of 336 two-bedroom apartment units, each with a size of 44 square meters.
Under Moreno’s numerous housing projects is the Basecommunity, Manila’s in-city horizontal public housing project in Baseco, Port area. It has 229, two-storey, 42 square-meter housing units, with each unit having two bedrooms, a dining room, a kitchen, a bathroom, and a living room.
Other housing projects, including San Lazaro Residences, Pedro Gil Residences, and San Sebastian Residences have already broken ground, marking the fulfilment of Moreno’s promise to put a roof over people’s heads.
As Manila celebrates its founding day, also known as Araw ng Manila, this June 24, 2022, it serves as a reminder of the city’s continuous development to create an inclusive environment that caters to the needs and wants of its constituents.