Mayor of Philippines' richest city takes on cyberbullies, 'dinosaurs'

Cathy Yang, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 23 2019 01:07 PM | Updated as of Oct 23 2019 02:44 PM

Makati Mayor Abigail Binay stands beside the city's seal at her office after an exclusive interview with ANC's The Boss. ABS-CBN News

MANILA -- Makati Mayor Abigail Binay takes on "bashers" on the internet with the help of her 9-year-old daughter, strict and fair both as a mother and boss of the Philippines' richest city.

Fighting cyberbullies and retooling city hall employees to harness digital channels for public service, Binay is past the 100-day mark of her second term. It's a position held in the past by her father, former Vice President Jejomar Binay and brother, Junjun.

Mayor Binay invites the bashers and their parents to her office to discuss the child's behavior. The online criticism stemmed mostly from what is perceived as her late action on class suspensions during bad weather.

"I really take it to heart," she said in an exclusive interview with ANC's The Boss. "I would call out the kids. They would apologize and I would tell them, you know what? I wanna see your parents."

"I look at it more of a societal issue. There's something wrong with out kids for them to openly and brazenly bash a government official."

Some of her online critics are from prominent families, Binay said.


A post shared by Cathy Yang (@cathyyapyang) on

Her strict demeanor extends to city hall, where Binay said "many dinosaurs" need retraining. The mayor is pushing for city-wide free WiFi and a card and mobile app to transact with the city.

"It was only recently that my dad knew how to take a selfie," she said.

She said telecom firms found it easier to pitch digital initiatives to her. Under the young Binay, Makati residents are called "Makatizens."

"I'm very OC. I love details. I scrutinize the smallest things," she said.

"I'm a very strict, fair mayor. I am a no-holds barred. Meaning, I say what I mean and do what I mean," she said.

It has been "so far, so good" into her second term, which Binay said was necessary to push forward the projects she started in 2016.

A foreign firm is in talks with the city government to finish the Ospital ng Makati project, she said. When privately funded, the project cannot be scrutinized by the Commission on Audit.

Binay said she was pushing for more transparency in city projects and making transactions easier for the public. At the start of the year, agencies that issue permits such as barangay and fire offices set up desks at city hall.