The Manila City Hall complex went dark on Saturday night (Aug. 8) as the lights of the building’s iconic clock tower were switched off to mourn the passing of former Manila mayor Alfredo “Fred” Lim.
It was a tribute of the Manila city government to the former mayor “in its own little way” while the country still battles the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, current Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso said.
Domagoso, who served as Lim’s vice mayor during the latter’s mayoral term from 2007 to 2013, announced the death of his former partner via Facebook Live.
“Nais ko pong ipabatid sa inyo ang isang malungkot na balita sa atin bilang taga-lungsod, bilang batang Maynila. Si dating Mayor Alfredo Lim ay sumakabilang buhay na po, dala nang pagkaka-infection nya sa COVID-19 (I’d like to inform you of some sad news, as residents of Manila, that former mayor Alredo Lim has passed away due to COVID-19 infection),” he said.
“Ilang araw na po ang nakakaraan ngunit di na po kinaya ng kanyang katawan (He had been ill for some days but could not longer continue fighting),” he added.
Lim was 90.
Moreno said there “are a lot of things” to give and words to say to Lim. But the city can only show its respect to him for now by turning the lights off of the clock tower as “the proper time is yet to come.”
“Kanina po, bilang tanda ng ating pakikiramay sa maliit nating kaparaanan ay…pinapatay po natin ang ilaw ng clock tower, na sagisag ng pag-asa ng Maynila (Earlier, as a sign of our sympathies in our own little way, we turned off the lights of the clock tower, which symbolizes the hope of Manila),” Domagoso said.
The iconic clock tower, which was completed in the 1930s, is the largest clock tower in the Philippines, reaching close to 100 feet in height. It is illuminated every evening.
“Ngunit di naman ibig sabihin na wala na tayong pag-asa. Ito ay isa lamang tanda ng ating paggalang sa maliit nating kaparaanan, habang kinakaharap natin ang pandemyang ito, ang isang taong naglingkod, mabigyan man lang nating ng kaunting pagpapahalaga (But this doesn’t mean that we don’t have hope. This is just a sign, in our own little way while we face this pandemic, of our respect for a person who served, that we give him a simple acknowledgement),” he added.
The current local chief executive cited Lim’s contributions in the city of Manila, including his hospital projects that still benefit residents.
“Hindi natin makakalimutan ang paglilingkod niya sa ating lungsod, sapagkat hanggang sa ngayon ay patuloy na pinakikibangan ng mga batang Maynila ang mga programa at proyekto ng minamahal nating mayor. Ilan diyan ay patuloy na nakikita ninyo — Sta. Ana Hospital, Gat Andres Bonifacio, Sampaloc (We will not forget his service to our city, because up to now the people of Manila stil benefit from the programs and projects of our beloved mayor. Some of those you still see — Sta. Ana, Gat Andres Bonifacio, and Sampaloc [hospitals]),” Domagoso said.
“Ang isa sa pinakamalaki na di makakalimutan na program ng ating dating mayor ay ang Unibersidad de Manila, na ito’y nagbibigay ng libreng tertiary education na hanggang ngayon ay nagagamit ng mahihirap nating kababayan na nagnanais na magkamit ng edukasyon (One of the biggest and most unforgettable programs of our former mayor was the Unibersidad de Manila, that gives free tertiary education that up to now may be availed of by our poor countrymen who wish to obtain an education),” he added.
Domagoso also said Lim “had been an effective” public servant as he gave the public safety and security whenever they went to Manila. Aside from being mayor from 1992 to 1998 and from 2007 to 2013, he said, Lim also became the city’s chief of police and the head of the National Bureau of Investigation, dedicating 50 years of his life to serving the public.
“Noong ako po’y manalong mayor, siya po ay aking pinuntahan agad para po humingi ng mga payo kung paano susugpuin ang kriminalidad sa ating lipunan at paano patitinuin ang mga bahagi ng gobyerno sa ating pamahalaang lungsod (When I won as mayor, I immediately went to him to ask for advice on how to crack down on criminality in our society and how to reform some areas of our city government),” he said.
Domagoso encouraged the public to emulate Lim, noting that like the latter, Filipinos can also serve the country well and with honesty. The current mayor called on his constituents to include Lim in their prayers.