Manila turns 449, Isko asks support for zero-COVID effort

Isko Moreno and Charlie Dungo
Mayor Isko Moreno and DTCAM head Charlie Dungo discuss Araw ng Maynila activities. Photo by JERRY S. TAN

THE city of Manila will be turning  449 years old today(June 24) with Mayor Isko Moreno calling on all residents to show their love for their city by fully cooperating with all the local government’s efforts geared toward a ‘zero covid Manila’.  It was declared as a special non-working day by Malacanang.

Moreno said this year’s ‘Araw ng Maynila,’  will not be marked by the usual glitter and fanfare but will instead be dedicated to feting health frontliners and the city donors who have all been helping in the fight against the pandemic.

It will be recalled that Moreno had tasked department of tourism,culture and the arts in Manila (DTCAM) head Charlie Dungo to come up with simple and austere ways to carry out the celebration and attuned with the crisis situation the country is facing.

Dungo said the mayor was emphatic in ordering him to come up with activities that will not cause any more drain on the city funds which Moreno had been devoting mostly to fighting COVID-19.

Moreno said he and Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna will still lead Manilans in paying tribute to those at the frontlines such as doctors, nurses, other health personnel as well as barangay and police authorities, who face the threat of COVID on a day-to-day basis at the risk of getting infected and endangering even their loved ones.

“They are our modern-day heroes and thus, we dedicate the special day for all of them.  No amount of money or words can compensate for the kind of dedication and work that our frontliners are doing to help in the fight against COVID-19,” he added. 

Moreno said also deserving of recognition are heads and staff of the city government’s various offices, bureaus, and departments who have been working round-the-clock to help in the delivery of essential services for the people of Manila and who, not having been classified as “essential,” found a way to make themselves useful in the city government’s efforts directed at COVID-19.

The mayor said they will also be giving special recognition to the countless donors who have been helping the city government through their donations either  in kind or in cash, no matter how small or big they may be, since the first day of the national health emergency was declared in the country.

“While I thank all of them from the bottom of my heart each time I go on live public address, Vice Mayor Honey and I would still want to show our gratitude, in behalf of the people of Manila, in another unique way. Not that these donors are looking for such recognition, since many of them even choose to remain anonymous. It is us, the officials of the city government, who would want to thank our kind donors endlessly,” he said.

Meanwhile, Moreno said that Manilans can do their part by merely following the basic safety protocols to contain the virus, like frequent hand washing, social distancing and wearing of face masks.

The activities slated for the ‘Araw ng Maynila, based on the list prepared by Dungo, will be highlighted by a zoom meeting with and tribute to all medical frontliners of the six hospitals of Manila; a  mass at the Manila Cathedral and simultaneous lighting of heritage buildings and  monuments.

These include the Clock Tower, Rizal Monument, Fort Santiago, Palacio del Gobernador, Ayuntamiento, Post Office, National Museum, Jones Bridge and Mehan Garden where red lights will be used as a tribute to frontliners and the background music will be Awit ng Maynila (live).

The day will be capped with a game show dubbed, “Manila, Ang Tanong?” where prizes await those who can give correct answers to questions about Manila.