President Benigno Aquino III assured re-electionist Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim of his support for the latter’s projects, specifically citing the renovation of Ospital ng Maynila into a 12-story building with a centralized air-conditioning system, during the miting de avance of the local Liberal Party (LP) ticket on Thursday.
“Mayor Lim approached me regarding Ospital ng Maynila. If he’s reelected, I’ll take care of whatever is still needed there,” the President said in Filipino, drawing cheers from the partisan crowd in yellow who filled the plaza in front of Sto. Niño de Tondo Parish.
Mr. Aquino lauded Lim’s health-care and educational programs, saying that “if these services are weighed, the scale will break because they have become too heavy.”
“Guguluhin pa ba natin ang takbo ng bansa? (Are we still going to change the way our nation is moving?)” Mr. Aquino said as he urged the crowd to vote for trusted and principled leaders.
Speaking to reporters before the program, Lim said he remained confident with three days to go before the elections “because not all people will be fooled. Manileños are educated voters. They know who deserves to win and who doesn’t.”
The 83-year-old Lim, a retired city police chief, is being challenged by former President Joseph Estrada, 76, in one of the most watched local contests in the May 13 elections.
Lim said that of the 143 cities in the country, only Manila has six hospitals, two colleges offering courses at “zero tuition,” as many as 59 health centers, 485 daycare centers, 97 newly added buildings for public elementary and high schools, 12 lying-in clinics and 132 newly rehabilitated roads.
“I’ll just pray that they will give me the trust they’ve given me before,” said Lim, who served as Manila mayor from 1992 to 1998, and then reelected in 2007 and 2010.
His running mate, Councilor Lou Veloso, said Manila needs a cultural revolution to condemn what is wrong and uphold what is right.
“Let’s begin a change in politics here in Manila. So that those who did wrong will no longer be allowed to seek public office. Let’s not forget that one person who really cares for the Manileño and don’t let the devil take over Manila,” Veloso said.
President Aquino also enumerated the achievements of his 3-year-old administration, which he said were considered “impossible” during the 9-year presidency of his predecessor, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
He cited the country’s renewed capacity to export rice, its improving investment grade ratings and the construction of more school buildings to address the perennial backlog.
LP senatorial candidates and representatives were also in attendance, namely Cynthia Villar, whose husband Manny Villar hails from Manila’s Tondo district; Chiz Escudero who is a relative of Lim, Sonny Trillanes’ wife Arlene, Bam Aquino’s wife Timi, Sonny Angara’s wife Tootsie, Koko Pimentel’s mother Bing, Risa Hontiveros’ friend Diane Ferrer and Jun Magsaysay’s son Paco.