At seventy six years old, Joseph Ejercito Estrada is a man on a mission. After being accused falsely of crimes he allegedly did not commit and after serving six years behind bars, the Philippines' Renaissance man is very excited in taking his oath as Mayor of Manila. Estrada is really something else. After being the only "artista" to become a President and the only President jailed for plunder, Estrada is again thrust into the limelight as Manila's big daddy. He is the only Filipino ELECTED WITH an overwhelming majority vote, ousted by a few elites and jailed and now, having a Renaissance.
Estrada says Manila is his last political hurrah, but we'll never know. If he does well, the possibility of Estrada clearing his family's name, regaining his reputation back and fulfilling his promise to his dearly departed mother is big.
An Estrada comeback to Malacanang? Don't count that out yet. If Estrada fulfills his promise of restoring peace and order and bringing back the luster so to speak of Manila to its pristine, Cosmopolitan look which almost everyone were accustomed to before, then, what prevents an Estrada comeback? Nothing.
Manila has lots of potential as a top draw for tourism. Decades ago, Manila is Asia's top port city with its elegant European style houses dotting the landscape. Now, only decay, misery and hopelessness.
Some suggestions to our newly elected Manila mayor.
1. Major cleanup. Manila needs a cleanup. Estrada must do this cleanup with business groups. Make it a huge affair, to be supported by Manilenos and business groups.
1.1. In the cleanup, make it also an occasion to distribute trash cans throughout Manila. A dirty alibi by LGU's say the reason why there are no more trash cans around is that people get them and sell them to scrap metal dealers. why not build trash cans again, and make a city ordinance or law punishing trash can thieves by imprisonment and fine and likewise, buyers of trash cans be liable for incarceration, fine and public avowals of apologies. We, Filipinos, follow the law. We are not as lawless as other people describe us. We love cleanliness, but the thing is, government's lack of support behind initiatives of maintaining cleanliness around.
1.2. Involve paint companies and ask them to sponsor a portion of Manila. Manila desperately need a painting job.
2. Revive Escolta. Encourage global brands to put their branches in Escolta. Revive buildings there. Make it a shopping destination.
3. Make Roxas Boulevard an iconic buyers paradise ala Orchard road of Singapore. Plant trees in the middle of the Boulevard.
4. Revive the Malate stretch as another tourist spot in Manila. Tourists need more things to see there. Restore the prestige and allure of old houses there. Invite more hotel builders to build theirs in Manila.
5. Clean up CCP area and create pockets of shops which will transform into a night market there. attract more local tourists by having some stalls that sell Filipino street foods. Install more iconic pieces or sculpture in that area.
6. Revive Intramuros. Give jobs to squatters there and ask them to leave the area and relocate somewhere in exchange for giving them jobs as caretakers of Intramuros.
7. Expand Binondo, and make surrounding areas as one big Chinatown.