Erap's mission: 100 days to 'clean up' Manila

By Dharel Placido, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Jul 03 2013 10:51 AM | Updated as of Jul 03 2013 07:28 PM

MANILA – Former president and now Manila Mayor Joseph "Erap" Estrada has a tall order for his subordinates in getting rid of the city's perennial problems of criminality and poverty.

Speaking to ABS-CBN's "Umagang Kay Ganda" on Wednesday, Estrada said he has given the city's new chief of police, Supt. Isagani Genabe Jr., 100 days to eliminate all criminals in the city.

"Eh talagang ang bilin ko sa pulis, sa bagong chief of police, sabi ko within 100 days, kailangan ubos ang kriminal sa Maynila. Kapag hindi, kailangan mag-resign kayo," Estrada said.

Likewise, Estrada said he wants to fix Manila's traffic and garbage problem in his first 100 days as mayor.

"Nung first day [in office] ako mismo ang nagwalis, kasama ko si Vice Mayor [Isko Moreno]. Talagang iyan ang aking programa dito, na sa 100 days, [magkakaroon ng] peace and order," he said.

Estrada won in the recent elections against Alfredo Lim under the platform of reviving the city's glory.

The newly installed mayor said the city's peace and order situation has prompted businesses to leave the city and turned away potential investors.

Although he has ordered a clean-up of the city, Estrada clarified that he will give street vendors ample time to adjust to the changes he intends to impose.

Estrada said one of the possible solutions is to set up night markets in order to ease traffic caused by proliferation of vendors on the streets.

"Hindi ko pwede silang alisin agad. Bibigyan pa natin ng mga isang lingo, dahil siyempre naghahanap-buhay iyan. Ang pinakamaraming mahirap, nasa Maynila. Ang pinakamaraming walang trabaho, nasa Maynila," he said.

Bankrupt

Estrada, who became president in 1998 but was ousted via a popular uprising in 2001, admitted he finds being mayor of Manila more challenging than leading the entire country.

Estrada explained this is because Manila was handed to him with an empty coffer by his predecessor.

Estrada, citing a report by the Commission on Audit (COA), said that Manila has a debt of at least P3.5 billion, including unpaid Meralco bills worth about P600 million.

"Mas mahirap ito. Alam mo naman sa totoo lang, iyung Manila na mukha ng ating bansa, capital city, pero ang nangyari ay napag-iwanan ng mga karatig-lungsod. Eh nakapapang-hinayang ano. Iyon ang misyon natin siguro na ibalik ang dating sigla ng Maynila," he said.

"Mas mahirap itong sa Maynila dahil sa unang-una, naubos ang pondo. Hindi ako dapat manira, pero ito ang report ng Commission on Audit, na P3.5 billion ang deficit [sa budget]. Pero mas malaki na ngayon, ito ay nung nakaraang taon pa. Malaki ang inaasahan sa atin ng mga kababayan sa Maynila, na may gagawin tayo. Anong proyektong magagawa mo kung wala kang pondo? Nakalubog pa sa utang," he added.

Estrada vowed to promote transparency in all government transactions so people would know where their money go.

The former president also said he will be bringing in former Cabinet members such as former finance and trade secretary Jose Pardo, economics professor and former budget secretary Benjamin Diokno and former socio-economic planning secretary Felipe Medalla to serve as his advisers in managing the city's finances.