MANILA Mayor and Aksyon Demokratiko standard bearer Isko Moreno Domagoso on Friday dedicated his People of the Year Award to his parents, fallen colleagues and fellow workers in the city government which made possible the Philippine capital’s pandemic response to become an inspiration to local government units across the country.
The 2022 Peoples Asia People of the Year Awards feted public servants, business leaders and philanthropists who, through their achievements in their respective fields, have inspired in the time of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Siguro iaalay ko na lang ito, ang award na ito sa nanay ko, sa tatay ko, sumalangit nawa ang kanilang kaluluwa. Sila ay naging simbolo ko na huwag sumuko sa buhay, Hindi nila ako sinukuan. But the thing is hindi sila sumuko, at narito ako sa harapan niyo,” said Moreno in his acceptance speech during the awards night at the Taft Ballroom of Conrad Manila in Pasay City.
The 47-year-old local chief executive also dedicated the award in honor of fellow city hall workers who have sacrificed their personal lives, with some even paying the ultimate price, so that others will survive the pandemic.
“Inaalay ko rin ito sa aking mga nakasama ko since Day One. They left their families also and stayed with me for three straight months running the city government, the very least, for our people to feel na merong gobyerno sa Lungsod ng Maynila sa kasagsagan ng kalituhan, pangamba at takot,” he said.
“And I’m very proud of them, at sumalangit nawa ang ilan sa kanila. They paid the ultimate price, and I share this award to them and their family, those who succumbed from the infection by doing public service, in taking care of others,” said Moreno.
Moreno also thanked his colleagues, especially Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna, for their dedication and full support in achieving their collective dreams for a better Manila in less than three years.
“Sapagkat yung aming pinangarap together on rebuilding Manila in 10 years, despite the pandemic, all happened in two years. So, puwede pala, posible pala. I owe it to them. Whatever naririnig niyo sa Maynila, hindi ko po kaya yoon na mag-isa. Nagawa po yon dala ng pakikipagtulungan ng bawat isa,” said Moreno.
Moreno said the award recognizing his “little effort” to make a difference in improving the quality of life of the people only served to inspire him to do even better in his chosen career as public servant, no matter where fate would take him in the coming days.
“That’s why we will continue to be better in our field of undertaking. Sa maliit kong kaparaanan, may awa ang Diyos, pipilitin kong maging masinop, mainam at episyente kayong mapaglingkuran hanggang sa huling araw sa Lungsod ng Maynila. And I hope somewhere, someday,” Moreno said.
But more than ever, the tireless Manila city mayor said the People of the Year award, as well as all his achievements in the city, would never have been possible without the full support of his wife, Diana Lynn Ditan Domagoso, and their five children.
“Sa aking pamilya, kay Dynee, at yung lima kong anak, I am proud of them, they deserve this also. Because sila ang laging biktima, o napagkakaitan ng oras ko. Because simple lang ang pananaw ko sa buhay, basta sila’y may masisilungan, may makakain, komportable ang buhay nila, I think they are okay,” he said.
“Then I’ll go back to my task in delivering true, honest and in our own little way, finding real solutions and doing fast action dahil sa hirap ng buhay,” said Moreno.
Lastly, Moreno said the Filipino people should learn from the lessons of the pandemic – to be strong and united in the face of adversity. “It’s high time also for us to learn to live with Covid-19 and go back to work safely. Kaya natin. Lahat na ng aberya inabot natin bilang bansa, bilang Pilipino, bilang mamamayan. I don’t think na ito’y kaya pa tayong gapiin. Mananalo tayo. Mananalo tayo,” he said.
“Mananalo tayo sa lahat ng pagsubok na kakaharapin natin. Laging may awa ang Diyos,” said Moreno.
Moreno is among the 13 People of the Year awardees for 2022 that includes Michael Tan, Maria Ressa, Dennis Uy, Camarines Sur Gov. Migz Villafuerte, House Deputy Deputy Speaker Camille Villar, Senator Joel Villanueva, Korina Sanchez-Roxas, Dr. Regina Berba, John Arcilla and Olympians Hidilyn Diaz, Eumir Garcia and Nesthy Petecio.
Besides the 2022 People of the Year Award, Moreno was also feted as the Man of the Year in the 2020 Asia Leaders Award; 2012 Most Outstanding Filipino in the Field of Public Service Award given by the Gawad Amerika Foundation; and one of the Top Ten Men Who Matter in 2011 also given by People Asia Magazine.
Moreno’s story – from a lowly basurero who became an actor, a three-term Manila city councilor, a three-term vice mayor and mayor — is an inspiration to everyone, especially to poor children.
Better known as “Yorme,” Moreno has been continuously praised for his admirable handling the Covid-19 pandemic. Under his leadership, the city government stocked up on Covid medicines such as Remdesivir, Tocilizumab, Baricitinib, Molnupiravir and later on Bexovid, that he shared to even to non-Manilans.
The Manila City government also undertook the construction of the 344-bed Manila Covid-19 Field Hospital at the Quirino Grandstand, which was finished in a record 52 days that also served people from outside the city.
Throughout the pandemic, he looked after the welfare of Manileňos by providing food boxes, financial assistance, free swabbing services, and gadgets with free bandwidth to public school students and teachers, among others.
And despite the pandemic, Moreno undertook a massive cleaning and beautification drive, and began constructing infrastructures meant to provide Manileňos with the minimum basic needs – housing for the poor, new medical facilities and modern public school buildings which created jobs and livelihood opportunities when the people needed them most.
Moreno said these modern public facilities were undertaken because he wanted the poor to have the same amenities accorded to the rich, for them not to experience what he had experienced as a poor boy in the slums of Tondo. #