Isko Moreno’s Difficult Road to Success
By Rose de la Cruz
Francisco Moreno Domagoso, the 27th mayor of the City of Manila, is the only child of a stevedore Joaquin Domagoso at the Manila North Harbor and Rosario Moreno of Allen, Northern Samar. Because of his humble beginnings, he at first wanted to be only a seaman (as the family’s way out of poverty) until he became a buzz word in showbiz for titillating films in the nineties. (He was when he was discovered by the late talent scout, German Moreno).
Showbusiness opened his eyes to loftier goals like politics (a former three-term councilor in the city’s first congressional district), a vice mayor and now the father of the city at 45.
At 10 years old, he pushed the cart and went house to house to collect old newspapers and used bottles that he sold to a junk dealer. For dinner, he rummaged through restaurant garbage bins for leftover food, which his mother would recook for dinner.
Moreno was cast in a cameo role in a romantic movies May Minamahal as the leading man of Claudine Barretto in Muntik na Kitang Minahal a year later. He appeared in Siya’y Nagdadalaga, and has appeared in movies such as Exploitation, Mga Babae sa Isla Azul and Misteryosa .
In 2005, while serving his third term as city councilor, he returned to acting as a kind-hearted priest in the television drama series Mga Anghel na Walang Langit . He also had a brief appearance in 2007 in the television drama series Bakekang. The following year during his first term as vice mayor, Moreno had a supporting role in the afternoon soap opera Ligaw na Bulaklak.
Moreno first became a councilor in 1998 and reelected in 2001 and 2004. In 2007, he became vice mayor during which time he took a crash course in Local Legislation and Local Finance at the University of the Philippines. He then studied public administration in Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (University of the City of Manila) while fulfilling his alderman duties.
During his election campaign, he criticized “black propaganda” by opponents, but did not press any charges. Domagoso eventually won the elections, beating the closest rival by about 80,000 votes.
Moreno also served as vice-chairman of the Manila Historical and Heritage Commission and studies Law in Arellano University.
In May 2012, former president and former City Mayor Joseph Estrada announced his intention to run with Domagoso, as his vice mayor.
On February 16, 2013, Domagoso and other five councilors were arrested by the police, due to alleged bingo operations held in a public place, Moreno denied the bingo game is in the public place in Sta. Cruz as he commented that he believes that Mayor Lim was behind his arrest and the bingo game is not illegal, the day before Lim and Estrada signed a “Peace Covenant” to prevent any election-related violence in the City of Manila.
In 2016, Domagaso ran for the senate but lost, placing only 15th overall.
In July 2017, President Duterte appointed him as the chairman of the board of the North Luzon Railways Corporation (NorthRail) until his resignation in October 2017. In May 2018, he was appointed by Duterte as Undersecretary for Luzon Affairs at the Department of Social Welfare and Development. On October 11, 2018, he officially resigned from his post to run for Mayor of Manila in the 2019 elections.
On May 13, 2019, Domagoso won over incumbent Joseph “Erap” Estrada with close to 150,000 votes more than the closest contender and proclaimed by the City Board of Canvassers on May 14. Estrada conceded on the evening of May 13.
He is determined to change people’s views of Tondo, and Manila at large, as a dirty and dangerous place by spearheading an aggressive cleanup drive all over the city, clearing roads of illegally parked vehicles and vendors, most notably in the districts of Quiapo and Ermita, and the commercial center Divisoria.
He announced his team’s plans to create what they call a “tourism circuit,” which links all the culture and heritage sites within Manila. Last July 17, the mayor had a meeting with British Ambassador to the Philippines Daniel Pruce to talk about a possible partnership for an urban planning project.