‘Will Lito Atienza win back City Hall to again give Manila back its life?’
FORMER President Joseph Estrada, speaking at a Buhayin ang Maynila rally in San Andres endorsed former Mayor Lito Atienza as a reliable mayor, one who always had his constituents’ interests in mind. Erap added: “Like me, Lito has his heart for the poor. Hindi siya nang-iiwan, siya’y tunay na kaibigan, laging maaasahan.
“Alam ko ang pagkatao ni Lito. Subok na siya sa pagtulong sa mga mamamayan, lalo na sa mahihirap.”
Estrada pointed out that this was in contrast to the sitting mayor (Alfredo Lim) who “did not only abandon me. He even lied through his teeth in doing so.”
“Yang si Lim, nagsinungaling pa. May aasikasuhin lang daw siya, aawatin lang daw niya aang mga tao; yun pala, pupunta na sa Edsa. Hindi kagaya ni Atienza, hindi ako iniwan.”
I have always wondered how it happened that, while there was an Erap cabinet meeting going on in Malacañang, DILG Secretary Lim suddenly popped up at Gloria’s rally at the Edsa Shrine. The Erap Cabinet saw him on TV, trying to get on the good side of GMA. This was in 2001.
On the other hand, when Erap had to leave Malacañang, Mayor Lito Atienza was there for him, to the end.
Before that, Lim ran for president against Erap; yet, when Estrada took the presidency, Estrada appointed Lim to the DILG.
After EDSA Dos, despite abandoning President Erap when he was a cabinet secretary, Lim begged Erap for a place in the opposition ticket and Erap again took him in as a senatorial candidate. In fact, when Lim ran for mayor against Kim Atienza, Lito’s son, Erap gave Lim his full support.
Then, says Estrada, in July 2008, Lim “blatantly abused the human rights” of Manila councilor Dennis Alcoreza during the forcible takeover of the Tondo Vitas Slaughterhouse leased to Dealco Farms Inc. Twenty-four Manila city councilors resigned from their posts as members and heads of the different committees, prompting a reorganization. The councilors unanimously denounced the violent treatment by Lim and the Manila Police Department (MPD) towards Alcoreza, which included forcibly dragging the councilor through the streets.
Says Erap: “Kung magagawa niya yan sa isang konsehal, ano pa kaya sa maliliit na tao?”
In August 2008, Lim was removed as the president of Erap’s political party, Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino, after which Lim resigned from the PMP.
Atienza and Estrada had been friends since the seventies and shared the advocacies of caring for the elderly and providing housing for the poor. Even when Atienza was a GMA Cabinet Member, the two remained as friends. Erap says that he never held that against Lito since Atienza never abused his position and never abandoned his friends, including Erap.
“Today is the first day of the public trial of Alfredo Lim, for multiple offenses against the people of Manila.” This is how Atienza started his campaign to return as Mayor, after having to leave his post due to term limits, after his third term.
Ramming through the ordinance that allowed the oil depots to stay in Pandacan despite the “clear danger it poses to public safety” and a Supreme Court decision supporting an Atienza-era ordinance relocating them outside Manila.
Atienza explains: “All cities around the world have relocated oil depots out of city limits because of the grave danger they pose to the people. This is the only administration that insists on keeping then even if he endangers the lives of Manilans.”
After each “crime,” Atienza asked: “Guilty or not guilty?” And the crowd roared back: “Guilty!”
Another big issue is the hasty, below-market pricing of the city property where Century Park-Sheraton is located. This was sold in a rush sale yet, “City Hall has no money to provide services to the poor.” Lito points out that even Lim’s lawyer filed charges against the mayor and 20 councilors in connection with the transaction.
Lito also accused Lim of “oppressive policies against vendors” and for derailing a continuing program of setting aside city assets for low-cost housing for Manilans. Atienza said that he would expand housing schemes similar to those in the Baseco area.
Atienza’s goal is “Trabaho, Negosyo at Hanapbuhay para sa Lahat.”
His Buhayin ang Maynila has a specific program for Senior Citizens: “Mahal ko si Lolo, Mahal ko si Lola” which aims to make Manila a haven for the elderly.
There is a plan of improving sports facilities and youth participation that would develop world-class athletes as Lito helped Manny Pacquaio when the champ was just starting out in a Sampaloc gym many years ago.
A plan to improve Manila’s Art and Culture scene would give scholarships to poor and deserving talented Manilans A bigger budget would also be set aside for hospital for prompt and complete delivery of health services.
Lito Atienza also wants to make Manila to be the safest place in the Philippines where residents, businessmen and tourists can walk the streets without fear and enjoy all the good things that Manila has to offer.
Will Lito Atienza win back City Hall to again give Manila back its life? Buhayin ang Maynila.
Former Manila Assemblyman, General Manager of the National Housing Authority, Manila Vice-Mayor for 6 years, Mayor of Manila for 9 years, and Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources