Isko Moreno: The mayor that never sleeps

IF in the United States they have a city that never sleeps, in Manila, they have a mayor that doesn’t sleep, in the person of Mayor Isko Moreno.

I was wide awake at past 3 a.m. of Wednesday when I received notification that Mayor Kois was live on Facebook. So, I watched.

In it, he sort of took his viewers to a tour of his office and what they were doing there at an unholy hour. He said he is fully aware how bored the people have become with the home quarantine and all, so that he decided to entertain them a bit. I think it was also a way to entertain himself, given the endless problems in the city he runs and the 1.8 million residents he has to care for.

The video began inside his private office. Before getting out, Moreno briefed the netizens that he will be taking them to the place where all the ‘action’ had been consistently taking place since the COVID crisis began.  He asked the viewers to say ‘thank you’ in their comments and then proceeded out.

From his office, he surprised his staff who were still working, not only with his presence, but by his live coverage of them while still on duty at 3 a.m., with the words: “Naka-live kayo,” followed by his signature hearty laugh.

The staff members, led by his equally tireless and most trusted executive assistant Weng Santiago – whom he described as someone with ‘mahabang pasensiya,’ were very busy putting money inside brown envelopes.

Mayor Kois was even surprised ---er, delighted--- when he saw that they even had a money counting machine in the office.  At the rate his staff were working, he joked that they could open a ‘post office.’

Imagine the gargantuan task of having to put money in each envelope, labeling them one by one and going over the list provided by each barangay, based on which the amounts being put inside the envelopes vary.  These envelopes are then sealed and then arranged systematically for easier filing and subsequently, distribution.  The load of paper work and documents that go with them, such as liquidation, is just unimaginable.

The mayor’s staff do not go home until they are done and then report to work again, after only  a few hours of shuteye.

By the way, what was shown being prepared that morning was just the third batch of the P1,500 per head financial assistance to the city’s senior citizens from the six districts of Manila, totalling over 100,000.  These were distributed via the barangays numbering 896 in all.

The area leading to the office of Mayor Kois, all the way to the ‘Bulwagang Antonio Villegas’ were also shown, filled with papers, envelopes and staff doing the preparations for the senior citizens’cash benefits from the city.

He then went to the room where his live broadcasts or announcements take place daily, and then went back to his office turned ‘dormitory’  or ‘bat cave,’ if we go by his own description of his quarters. It’s quite an apt term, since he had been virtually living in his office and had seen his family just about four or five times since the COVID-19 crisis began.

Mayor Kois then showed the lone, long table in his office where meetings are held and important decisions are reached. ‘Kainan, mitingan planuhan,’ was how he described that table.

From there, he took the netizens to see his sleeping quarters --- a narrow black sofa where he had slept for nearly two months now and from which he fell off at least twice already, since it was too small for his size.

As part of the ‘entertainment portion’, Mayor Kois showed a trick to get the fish to troop to where you are outside the aquarium, by tapping the glass lightly, giving a signal that it’s feeding time.

After showing the small bathroom in his office, he opened his supposed private ‘mess room’  and described its topsy turvy condition as ‘buhay lalaki.’

The delightful glimpse into what happens inside the mayor’s office in Manila City Hall while Manila is fast asleep, shows the kind of dedication that Mayor Kois pours into his governance, specially in the wake of the present crisis situation. Ditto with his very supportive staff from whom no whimper or whine could be heard.

Mayor Kois tells his staff that while the kind of work they do is no walk in the park, it is still nothing compared to the sufferings of the less privileged residents of Manila.

Showing his staff at work in the wee hours of the morning while kidding around with them was apparently his way of showing his gratitude to them.

It was his way of giving credit to the so-called ‘people behind the scenes,’ the ‘unsung heroes’ who take charge of all the residents’ requests and all forms of assistance that the city government is giving to the citizens of Manila.  Ain’t he the sweetest mayor, ever??

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Jokjok (from Johnson de Quiroz) --- Pedro: ‘Tol, mag-iinternet ako! Bubuksan ko account mo sa Facebook!/ Juan: Alam mo ba password ko, kuya?/ Pedro: Oo naman, nakita ko! LIMANG ASTERIS!

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