"Manila is really going to hell. That's true,"-- Mayor-Elect Joseph "Erap" Estrada
MANILA - "Inferno" author Dan Brown has found an unlikely ally in former Philippine president and now Manila Mayor-elect Joseph Estrada.
Speaking to radio dzMM, Estrada said there is some truth to Brown's fictional descriptions of Manila as a city plagued by mammoth traffic jams and overpopulation.
"That is the very reason why I ran for mayor because I was born in Tondo, Manila. Maybe somewhat totoo yung sinasabi ni [Dan Brown] because yung sinubmit sa akin ng UP, yung study nila Manila has the highest level of poverty incidence. Maraming mahirap sa Maynila. Pinakamaraming jobless dito sa Maynila. It is overpopulated, the density is second to Bangladesh. It is the second densest city in the world," he told radio dzMM.
He said Manila's peace and order situation is worsening, and many policemen are not getting their allowances. He also criticized the burgeoning debt problem in the city.
"Manila is really going to hell. That's true," he added.
In Brown's "Inferno", one of the characters goes through “the gates of hell” in Manila. The city was also described as having “six-hour traffic jams,” “suffocating pollution” and a “horrifying sex trade.”
Estrada said his first priority is to raise funds by checking on Manila's existing properties and taxation system.
He said he wants to beef up Manila's housing program to help informal settlers.