Kois stirs politicians into action; Manilans will not forget

LIKE it or not, it took someone like Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, a first-time, relatively young mayor who is a ‘high school finish’--- based on his own, funny  description of himself---  to stir a lot of our  politicians to action, in the midst of the coronavirus crisis in the entire country.

When in his live public address he called for a 90-day ceasefire among those who have had the temerity to use the COVID-19 situation either to advance their own, selfish  political agenda or hit at their political enemies, Moreno did not take sides. His call was directed at everybody, whether in government or out of it.

As he mentioned the lawmakers whom he assailed for doing nothing but engage in political gimmickry, he particularly directed the attack on those who, according to him, did nothing but ‘kiyaw kiyaw nang kiyaw kiyaw, kuda nang kuda’ meaning, all talk and no action.

Apparently,  Mayor Kois could not stomach those who nitpick on President Rodrigo Duterte’s vulnerabilities  as the country’s top leader at a time when the country needs to be acting in unison against the one and only enemy, which is COVID-19.  In fact, the mayor also pointed out that correct pronunciation will not do anything to get the country in a better situation, in apparent reference to brickbats President Duterte had been getting for pronouncing virus as ‘vee-rus.’ Take note that the President and Mayor Kois belong to different political parties.

Noticeably, out of the 24 senators, only one-sixth or about four reacted adversely to the public address made by Mayor Kois. And the funny thing is, at least a couple of them ‘reminded’ the mayor that they (senators) went overtime to pass the ‘Bayanihan to Heal as One Act’  which, they said, was the reason why the national government was able to extend help and support to the citizens, including the local government units (LGUs).  Some of them also claimed that they are actually extending help without the benefit of media coverage.

This buried the politicians all the more into the quagmire of public criticism. I, and I’m sure many of you, find it hard to believe that senators, just like other politicians, will send help to the communities without publicity. Ow, c’mon!

Too, it is difficult to accept that there are senators who actually think that the nation owes them one big favor for working overtime on the ‘Bayanihan’ law. Really? It’s as if enacting it was a matter of life-and-death situation for them or it put their lives in grave danger, putting to shame our health frontliners who stare death in the face on a 24/7 basis.

People in high places sprung into action. Over 200 members of Congress responded by donating their one-month salaries to the fight against COVID-19. President Rodrigo Duterte himself donated his salary.

According to Mayor Kois, some cabinet members donated  75 percent of their salaries for the whole year. Note that before Moreno made his emotional appeal, he, Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna and the members of the Manila City Council also donated their one-month salaries totalling  P4.7 million.

Notably, majority of the senators did not take offense at what Mayor Kois said, knowing in their hearts that the mayor was only referring to those who have not given anything to help the poorest communities.  Mayor Kois said three senators sent help to Manila by donations of vegetables and face masks.

Those who attacked the mayor, on the other hand, were bashed to death by the netizens.

Oh well, the pronouncements made by Mayor Kois only made one thing clear. That he does not intend to run for any national office like he has always said.  Otherwise, why say something that would earn the ire of national figures like senators?

The good mayor raised a very good point.  During elections, candidates, including the now sitting senators, woo Manilans to get their precious votes. They all too willingly give all sorts of help even if the residents do not need or ask for it.

Now that their help is very much needed, only a handful can be seen and have actually sent help. There will be a time of reckoning and when it comes, maybe in 2022, the 1.8 million residents of Manila will not forget. I’m sure Mayor Kois and all the city officials won’t forget too.

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