Fred Lim, Isko Moreno and thier mutual admiration

The exchange of kind and flattering words and show of mutual respect that took place recently between former Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim and the new mayor of Manila, Isko Moreno, is a wonderful thing to see.

After their first meeting that took place shortly after the May elections, the two again met at the joint event of the Rotary Clubs of Manila and Pasay held in Makati City.  They were seated a seat apart from each other at the presidential  table and it was Lim who introduced Moreno as that day’s guest of honor and speaker.

In their first meeting which took place in a hotel and lasted for about two hours, the two exchanged notes. Lim thanked Moreno for the invitation and Moreno thanked Lim for accepting it and then asked for some ‘tips’  in governance, particularly in the aspect of peace and order and Lim readily answered all his questions.

At the Rotary event in Makati on Thursday, the two appeared even more relaxed and were talking like nothing happened from the time they were together in City Hall up to post-election.

For starters, when Lim began introducing Moreno, he branded the latter as the ‘most handsome man in the Philippines’ and went on to joke, thus: ‘siguro kung naging babae lang ako, matagal ko nang idinate itong si Mayor Isko.’

Lim also introduced Moreno as the ‘Bagong Ama ng Maynila’ and cited the latter’s humble beginnings and strength of character as his clear motivation for doing everything within his means to restore the lost glory of Manila.

When he took to the podium, Moreno thanked Lim and humbly said: ‘Nata-touch ako,’ in reference to how the former mayor introduced him.

‘Ako po ay natutuwa dahil ang hindi alam ni Mayor Lim, yung mga bagay na ginagawa ko nitong nakaraang 15 araw, ‘yun din ‘yung mga ginawa niya nung araw.’

He then took a swipe at his predecessor, Erap Estrada, saying: ‘Mayor Lim and I grew up in Tondo. Alam namin ang kasu-kasuan at bukong-bukong ng Maynila. Mahirap intindihin ang mga problema ng Maynila kaya mahirap ang hindi ka taga-Maynila.’ The audience apparently understood that he was referring to Estrada, who is publicly known to be a resident of San Juan City.

Indeed, Lim and Moreno have a lot of things in common. They are not only both from Tondo but also, both of them rose from poverty through blood, sweat ad tears and are also both products of public schools in Manila.

While Moreno, as we all know, was once a scavenger and a pedicab driver during his younger years, Lim also had odd jobs as a young boy, selling native cakes and shining shoes.

When they had a falling out due to politics and Estrada became mayor, I remember Lim telling us that even if  he and Moreno had parted ways, he would have preferred Moreno to take over the helm of Manila.

Lim said that only a true-blue Manilan would understand the complex problems of the city.

More than this, Lim said he can easily relate to Moreno as someone like him who genuinely knows the sentiments of the poor, having come from the slums himself.  They both know how it is to go to sleep on a hungry stomach.

This, Lim said, is something foreign to Estrada who, while claiming to be pro-poor and part of the masses, was virtually ‘born with a golden spoon in his mouth,’ even noting that the latter’s mother is widely known as ‘Donya Mary.’

These days, with his countless accomplishments in just a matter of two weeks catapulting him to the daily headlines and making him by far the ‘hottest item’ here and abroad,  Moreno says he does not mind and in fact  take pride when people compare him to Lim or say that he has taken after Lim when it comes to performance.

‘Okay lang maikumpara kay Mayor Lim kesa nama maikumpara dun sa isa. Buti pa gayahin kona lang si Mayor Lim kesa gayahin ko ‘yung iba diyan!’ Whoever he is referring to, your guess is as good as mine.

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