By Erma Edera and Roy Mabasa
Two envoys paid a courtesy call to Manila Mayor Isko Moreno on Wednesday at the Manila City Hall.
Moreno met the delegation from the European Union (EU) led by Ambassador Franz Jessen in which they exchanged ideas and discussed best practices on a number of social development issues and waste disposal system both in Europe and in the nation’s capital city.
“Before, Manila was the Paris of the east. Hopefully we can go back to that concept, that description,” Moreno told Jessen during their meeting.
Jessen also invited the Mayor to come to Europe to see the best practices which can be implemented in Manila.
“We go where the action is. As long as you are trying to do the right thing, you have our support,” the envoy said shortly upon his arrival at the Manila City Hall for his courtesy call to Moreno.
Among the issues discussed were the challenges of waste management in Manila, and on the part of EU, its implementation of the so-called Formation of Teachers in Challenged Areas in the Philippines, otherwise known as Project FORTH.
Moreno informed the EU envoy that he has visited several places in Europe such as Netherlands, Belgium, and Italy to have a first look of the waste disposal system.
This, he said, is aimed at “changing the mindset of the people” in Manila on how to properly dispose of their garbage.
Regarding the FORTH program, Jessen informed Moreno that Binondo, which is located in the heart of Manila, was chosen as one of the pilot areas in the Philippines for the implementation of the initiative where teachers will be trained to cope up with the demands of teaching in challenged areas.
According to the EU, the Philippines was selected as a pilot ground for the FORTH project due to its large number of children and youth; the country’s positive attitude towards learning; the quality of many of its teacher education program, and the use of English as the medium of instruction.
During their light exchanges, Moreno informed the EU’s top diplomat in the Philippines that the City of Manila will soon pass an ordinance that would allow food service-related establishments to sort out left-over but clean food for distribution to his needy and less fortunate constituents.
The Mayor also told Jessen the City of Manila is open to any exchange of culture and any type of help from the European countries.
It is the first time for the European ambassador to visit the nation’s capital, Moreno bared.
Jessen is the ninth ambassador to pay a courtesy visit to the mayor since July 1.
On the other hand, New Zealand Ambassador to the Philippines David Stratchan also visited Moreno on Wednesday.
Stratchan offered assistance especially in improving the city’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management.
“We want to offer assistance in the area of disaster management to your city. We want to invite your disaster agency (MDRRMO) to a short-term course for senior officials dealing with disaster risk management,” Stratchan said.
“All expenses will be paid by the (New Zealand) government,” he added.
“Yesterday Russian, now EU. It’s like [a] world tour, even if my molar tooth is broken. I told you, good things come to those who wait,” Moreno said in jest after the meeting.