By JULLIE Y. DAZA
The mayor of Manila has Iskored again. After turning over P7 million (as of last count) worth of modeling fees to Philippine General Hospital and the earthquake refugees of Mindanao, Isko has just received the most spectacular gift, and it’s only the start of the long Christmas season.
Two conglomerates have vowed P50 billion each to help the mayor move Manila to a new decade of the century. Their names remain “in pectore” for the moment, but the plan is for Company A to take care of the northern part of Manila and develop a rail system while Company B will take care of the southern portion.
Mayor Isko confirmed the donations during The Manila Hotel’s tree-lighting ceremony last Wednesday. The day before, he and his family – wife Dynee and three of their five children – pushed the button to light up the all-white tree at Diamond Hotel. Between these two trees in Manila and Ayala Makati’s cosmos of lights, Christmas is here, indeed, no doubt. Senior citizens may take a moment to stop breathing and realize how time flies, for it’s science that says the earth and sun are spinning at fantastic speeds.
Isko seems to be moving at lightning speeds, too. Teased about how he’s leaving other local executives behind, his answer is diplomatic, to say the least: “There’s lots to catch up. The other cities don’t face the same challenges as Manila.”
Most, if not all, cities in the Philippines, as far as cursory sightings go, are challenged by a common tragedy. Children abandoned by their parents, orphans left to their own devices, kids devoured by hunger, disease and misery, the hope of the fatherland without hope of a loving family, education, not even a future worth waiting for. In both tree-lighting events, the two hotels gathered disadvantaged children, including former street urchins now waiting for foreign adoption at House of Refuge, to enjoy moments and music of Christmas joy with the highly photographable mayor.