Isko Moreno believes he has 'good chance' of winning Manila mayoral race

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 26) — Despite going up against whom he calls "Goliath's of Manila," mayoral bet Isko Moreno said he has a "good chance" of winning the election.

"Let's be honest with our situation in Manila, well, may tiyansa (there's a chance). Maganda ang tiyansa sa awa naman ng Diyos dahil I think... napagbigyan naman na namin sila eh (I have a good chance of winning because we've given the two of them chances)," Moreno, a former Social Welfare undersecretary, told CNN Philippines' Politics As Usual.

The actor-turned-politician, whose real name is Francisco Domagoso, is in a three-way race against incumbent Mayor Joseph Estrada and former mayor Alfredo Lim. He has been vice mayor under Estrada and Lim.

"Wala silang pwedeng masabi sa akin.. pareho sila (They can't say anything against me, both of them). I've served them well. I've served them both. Wala silang masabi (They can't say anything). I've waited and patiently waited. Hinanda ko naman ang sarili ko (I prepared myself)," he said.

The 44-year-old candidate urged Estrada and Lim to give way to a new leader.

"Napagbigyan naman namin silang dalawa (We have given you a chance). Pahinga na po kayo (Just rest). Let's give chance to others and you know, baka naman maiba (there may be a change)," he said.

'Bring Makati to Manila'

Should he win the position, Moreno said he "will bring Makati to Manila" by adapting some of the former's social services.

"When I say we'll bring Makati to Manila, we're not talking about [bringing] those buildings... there are social services that [help improve] the quality of life," he said.

Moreno is certain that this is attainable as the two cities have the same amount of resources.

"Mukhang mayaman ang Makati kasi ang nakikita mo magandang (Makati looks rich because what we see are high-rise) buildings. Makati is only about what? If I'm not mistaken, about ₱15 billion. The same thing with us. We have about ₱14.8-B. So pareho rin namang batas ang aming ina-apply (We apply the same laws) under the local government code," he said.

"We have about ₱7.8 billion that we can play around and play in a positive way... I think we need to come up with the vertical development that generates jobs, tourism, and at least the physical appearance or aura of Manila," he added.

In providing healthcare services, education, employment, and other public services, Moreno said he will adapt programs implemented by other places such as Singapore, Cuba, Japan and Hong Kong.

Heritage protection

He also vowed to protect Manila's heritage landmarks, as many historic and old establishments in the city are now used as storage facilities.

"Ngayon bodega na lang kami (We are just a storage facility now). Literally bodega (a storage facility)," he said.

"We will protect that asset of Lawton, the Arroceros park, na 'pag nakita mo 'yan sa Google (when you see them on Google) you'll be excited na meron pa palang ganito (that they still exist)," he added.

READ: Mayoral bet Isko Moreno wants a new Manila city hall

In addressing the city's traffic woes, meanwhile, Moreno said his administration will "separate foot and vehicular traffic."

"It's being done in Netherlands. It's being done in western world and European world. They separate as much as possible, if there's an opportunity for them based on geography, they will separate it vertically. Nandito ang pangalan ng tao, dito ang daanan ng sasakyan. So for a better, safe... you know, for health," he said.

Moreno, however, admitted that bringing back the city's lost glory will "not happen overnight."

"I think Manila will be at par, just to be safe 'no, at par with our neighboring cities within 15 years," he said.