By FLORO L. MERCENE
By the time this column appears, Manileños would already have an idea who would be elected mayor of Manila.
A pre-election survey conducted by the Filipino-Chinese Independent Business Coalition (FCIBC), the same firm that predicted Erap would win by a slim margin over Alfredo Lim in 2016, had the two-time mayor and his running mate, former representative Amado Bagatsing, winning over their rivals.
Whoever will make it to head Manila, their new mandate requires them to heed the call of practically every right thinking Filipino to clean-up the once Pearl of the Orient.
Maybe all MM mayors have adopted the formula of former Pasay City mayor Pablo Cuneta of taking care of all informal settlers in their domain, which made him Pasay City chief executive for 40 years, and Erap is no exception.
It is from this group that the mayors depend instant support, such as participating in rallies, massing in large numbers or going to the polls.This support is seldom or not expected from the residents of gated subdivisions.
During elections, informal settlers could be counted to go out in large volume to vote for the mayor who allowed them to live under bridges, or wherever there is available space, and also to engage in small business to survive.
However, this soft-globe treatments seems to have emboldened them to the point that now, it becomes increasingly difficult to relocate them.
The case in point is the estimated 40,000 informal settlers identified by Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). They are said to be the main source of garbage and wastewater that pollute the Bay, along with industrial sources.
A fresh mandate should give Erap – or whoever is favored by the voters – the opportunity to clean up our beloved city before it is too late.