By JULLIE Y. DAZA
He’s earned a Ph.D. in garbageology, having been a garbage collector for 18 years, starting at the tender age of 10 when he pushed a sluggish pushcart loaded with trash without counting the hours and the days.
Twenty-four years later in 2017 he was appointed chairman of National Railways Corp. with a monthly salary of P260,000, only to quit “because it’s not my style to sit at a desk in an airconditioned room doing nothing.” The next year, he was undersecretary of DSWD. Again, he quit.
To run a race with the two mayors of Manila whom he once served as vice mayor, each of them now roughly twice his age, and promising voters an agenda of infrastructure, tourism, education.
On the hot topic of reclaiming Manila Bay, “It’s not my priority” but Manila must retain its share of the bay, 30 km from Roxas Blvd.
After three terms as councilor and three terms as vice mayor and an unsuccessful run for the Senate, Isko Moreno, 44, has bloomed as a public speaker in English (spiced up with contemporary Taglishisms), not that this new skill was due to his time at John F. Kennedy School of Governance in Harvard (for one month) and Oxford University (10 days for a course in leadership). “I outshone my classmates in the books I carried with me, all in English!”
What excites Isko, who still lives in Balut, Tondo, in a house across the one where he grew up? That Manila hosts the most colleges and universities. That the capital’s treasure is its history. That garbage collection will be efficient: “Your mayor is a basurero!” That development will see BPOs rising, Chinatown-Escolta rejuvenated, “without destroying our heritage.”
What does this “Batang Maynila” have to offer? “Energy.”