Let’s get one thing out of the way, Manila is a dump — literally. Pictures and videos of Manila including the iconic Luneta Park littered with mountains of trash have been circulating the Internet support this view for many. It’s been a dump for decades and it will stay a dump as long as Joseph “Erap” Estrada is the Mayor or as long as he doesn’t do anything to fix it. But we all have to face the facts too. Estrada is already 81 years old and he’s been the Mayor of Manila since 2013, but not much has improved. If you think he is going to wake up one morning, have an epiphany and realise he is no good as a mayor, well, you should think again.
What has Estrada done to improve Manila since being elected? Some of his supporters could mention a thing or two like giving freebies, but the bottom line is, they are not significant enough to improve the city. It’s such a disgrace, really.
There was so much promise when Estrada was elected as Mayor. Some people thought that after Estrada was ousted as President in the second “People Power” uprising in 2001 and defeated during the 2010 Presidential Elections, the former President and convicted plunderer would try to prove that he had what it takes to fix things and make Manila a better place. It was his last chance at redeeming himself. Unfortunately, it looks like Estrada’s legacy is to leave Manila exactly the way he found it – like a dump.
Some people are saying that it’s not Estrada who is running the show anymore. He’s lost his macho touch. He’s in his twilight years and is very weak, unfortunately. What they are saying is not too far-fetched because it doesn’t look like Estrada is still aware of what is happening in his city. He seems clueless.
What kind of Mayor would allow his city to be turned into a dumping site? Why are street vendors allowed to leave their trash on the streets? Why can’t the garbage be picked up on time by garbage collectors? What are the authorities doing about it? Are there still authorities employed in the Manila City Hall or are they just racketeers profiting from vendors like mafia gangs? Perhaps we should ask the first born son of Estrada, former Senator Jinggoy Estrada who some people say holds the key to the city. He is currently detained for his role in the pork barrel scam, but he might know more about what is happening in Manila where his dad is the Mayor than his own dad.
What about the people of Manila? Why are they okay with all this? Are they so star-struck with the former actor who is now their Mayor to complain? This says a lot about the people of Manila. And to think Manila is supposed to be the epicentre of the Philippines where the crème de la crème live and breathe. It is quite baffling why the supposed educated elite members of Philippine society can tolerate the stink and mess surrounding them. Are they scared to say anything? Are they too chummy-chummy with each other that they are afraid to rock the boat and piss off the powers that be? Perhaps even the elite are scared of being eliminated by assassins that they would rather stay quiet.
What’s even more bizarre is how the Manileños behave as if they are superior to their compatriots living outside Manila or in other cities like Davao City. They mock President Rodrigo Duterte for being “Bisaya” and yet they live in a dump and cannot even do anything about it. They are a joke! They are stewing in their own filth.
Manila is the gateway to all the different cities in the Philippines, but before the visitors see all the beautiful places outside of it, they will have to bear passing through a dump first. The condition of the city is just a sad reflection of the people in it.
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