As of this writing, the city government of Manila has already begun distributing its fourth batch of monthly food boxes as part of our Food Security Program (FSP) aimed at alleviating hunger in the city brought about by lost jobs during the pandemic.
To date, 380,000 of the total 700,000 families in the city have already received their food allocation comprising of staples like rice, coffee and canned goods.
I and Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna have decisively set aside certain infrastructure projects and instead embarked on a food security program that would prioritize feeding the residents in consideration of the fact that countless have lost their jobs and businesses due to the worldwide pandemic.
Vice Mayor Lacuna, as presiding officer of the Manila City Council, helped pave the way for the realignment of the city funds.
The government’s financial capacity was redirected toward giving importance to every family in Manila having food on their table. As a result, many road projects had to be sidelined.
We prioritized hungry stomachs before beautiful roads. As a former squatter myself, I know for a fact that when the clock strikes 12 and again at 7 in the evening, people need to eat.
With the data and surveys coming out one after another and stating that many more are expected to go hungry as the pandemic stretches and the need for the imposition of quarantine continues in order to stem the transmission of COVID-19, we in the local government of Manila had to discuss ways to cushion the impact, specially on those belonging to the poorest communities.
In February, we began delivering to each family in the city a food box that would somehow ease their food expenses. Based on the allotted budget for the purpose, the deliveries will continue at least until July.
It is for this reason that this early, I am appealing to the residents and those using the streets of Manila to bear with us, if they get to experience potholes and get the ‘moonwalk’ feeling in the process. I assure though, that will not be for long.
I may get the brickbats should roads turn bad but I will never regret prioritizing food for Manilans instead of roads. Definitely, the roads and streets have no stomachs that would go hungry unlike the residents.
The local government of Manila will continue to direct its resources to more pressing needs of the residents in the wake of the continuing pandemic.
In this light, I would like to personally thank and commend the men and women behind the success of our FSP.
The personnel from the mayor’s office headed by my hardworking assistant Weng Santiago, the department of public services under Kenneth Amurao, the city engineer’s office headed by City Engineer Armand Andres, the Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau under Director Dennis Viaje and all those who have volunteered to help in repacking the goods and delivering them to the various barangays which, in turn, will hand them directly to their constituents.
Truly, the kind of dedication that the City Hall workers have continuously been showing since the pandemic began is something to be proud of for any sitting mayor.
Similarly, I laud the social and daycare workers from the Manila department of social welfare headed by Director Re Fugoso for the swift, orderly and efficient distribution of the emergency cash assistance or social amelioration program (SAP) funds coming from the national government.
The distribution was completed on May 11, way ahead of the May 15 deadline given by the national government for the purpose.
I thank President Rodrigo Duterte, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of National Defense (DND) for the more than P1.5 billion funds handed over to the city.
A total of 380,820 families have received P4,000 each in financial assistance from the national government, all in just 35 days of operation.
To all my co-workers in Manila City Hall, kudos!!! You all make me and all Batang Maynila proud!!
Gaya ng paulit-ulit kong sinasabi, kailangan ko ang tulong ninyong lahat. Walang magmamalasakit sa Maynila kundi tayo ding mga Batang Maynila. Manila, God first! ***
For updates on latest developments in the city of Manila, please visit my Facebook account— ‘Isko Moreno Domagoso.’