A couple of weeks ago, former MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino had a blogger session. Since I am part of Blogwatch, I got the chance to attend and meet the senatorial candidate in person.
I was an hour late and missed the juiciest part of the interview. My travel time from Taguig to the venue (Q.C.) was more than 2 hours. Guess what the reason was? TRAFFIC. I was so eager to grill him about it but it was already discussed when I arrived.
Anyhow, there are still some tidbits that I was able to capture during the interview. Before I share my thoughts, let me share the materials shared to me by Francis Tolentino’s PR firm.
Atty. Francis N. Tolentino PROFILE
Atty. Francis N. Tolentino was the Chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), tasked to supervise and coordinate metro wide services of Metro Manila without prejudice to the autonomy of the affected 17 local government units. Prior to this, he was appointed, then elected, as Mayor of Tagaytay City for three consecutive terms (1995-2004) and was the President of League of Cities of the Philippines (2001-2004) and EVP of the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (2001-2004).
He is a Doctor of Judicial Science Candidate (International Environmental Law) of Tulane University Law School (New Orleans, USA), a Master of Laws (LLM) graduate at the University of London (England) specialising in Public International Law (with Merit, 2nd Honours), a Master of National Security Administration (MNSA) degree holder at the National Defense College of the Philippines (Ranked #6 out of 55 graduates), a Graduate Diploma holder in Public Administration from Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, New York University USA, a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) graduate from Ateneo de Manila University Law School (1984) and a Bachelor of Arts (Philosophy) graduate of the Ateneo de Manila University (1980).
PLATFORM of Francis N. Tolentino
I stand for greater empowerment of local government units and establishment of regional clusters for increased economic benefits at the grassroots.
I, therefore, propose amendments to the Local Government Code that will accomplish the following:
- Increase the allocation of Internal Revenue Allotment based on performance and its automatic release to local government units (LGUs)
- Create a Police Youth Reserve Corps to help in peace and order and disaster response
- Establish and support community colleges supported by the national government offering courses attuned to the needs of communities where they are located and subsidies for the National Government
- Establish community airports in support of tourism
- Create a Philippine Urban Development Commission that will work closely with LGUs to promote the concept of planned cities that will prevent the problems experienced in Metropolitan Manila from happening elsewhere
I stand for disaster preparedness and speedy rehabilitation for greater resiliency in the face of climate change.
I, therefore, propose that the national government allocate funds to a Community Rehabilitation/Recovery Trust Fund for LGUs.
I, therefore, propose the setting up of a well-planned system for rehabilitating communities adversely affected by natural and man-made disasters, with the assistance of the private sector, thru appropriate tax incentives.
I stand for the protection of our natural environment and the integrity of the ecology so that future generations of Filipinos can live sustainably.
I, therefore, propose the practice of responsible mining coupled with assured revenues for host communities to be used for community development projects.
I, therefore, propose that tax holidays be given to environment-friendly companies and enterprises as incentives.
I stand for a healthy citizenry who are the real wealth of our nation who will bring us to prosperity.
I, therefore, propose that children in school automatically become direct beneficiaries of PhilHealth and educational health insurance as an effective way of investing in their future and in the future of our country.
I stand for the greater participation and empowerment of women in the labor force to unleash their full potential for economic development.
I, therefore, propose women’s statutory right to wellness and health facilities for their children.
When I arrived, the interview was almost half-way done. So I really took the opportunity to ask and observe how Francis Tolentino responds and reacts to questions.
I asked him 2 questions:
- Why did you have to manage traffic in EDSA and have a lot of media with you to cover it?
- Can you share your greatest achievement while MMDA chairman? Please provide specific examples with success measures.
For the first question, Francis Tolentino said that since he was MMDA chairman, it is the duty of MMDA to monitor all his activities. Thus, answers the question why there was media filming the act.
I honestly do not get why he had to manage traffic himself since he had people doing the work. Tolentino said that he had done that as well even before he became MMDA chairman. IMHO, while I would have wished that he did that to truly understand the traffic situation, I still think this is politically-motivated.
For the second question, Francis Tolentino went on with enumerating specific projects that he led in MMDA. I probed him asking for how he measured success in each. Did he have numbers? What problem was he trying to resolve? Did he try improving something that is in place? How much improvement was done after the project/s completed?
I think Atty. Francis Tolentino was a bit irritated with my line of questioning as I think he didn’t really have anything to track progress of his project. It’s more of, here is a brilliant idea, let’s execute it. Oh, the project is completed, yay, success!
Based on our interview, I think Atty. Francis Tolentino has a good vision. He has several great ideas but I think, he’s just not organised enough to make his achievements compelling.
Here are the things that Francis Tolentino mentioned as his achievements while acting as MMDA Chairman:
- Adjusted mall hours during holidays
- implemented pumping system for 3 baranggays
- Pasig river ferry system
- Papal visit preparations
- Garbage crisis alleviation
- Proposed waste to energy act (plastic ban)
- sky bridge from e.Rodriguez to Makati
Atty. Francis Tolentino is proud the most the Pasig River Ferry System. I think it’s a good achievement as it gives another option for commuters and can also alleviate the traffic in the area.
My co-bloggers asked the former MMDA chairman who he is supporting for President this coming 2016 elections. While Tolentino didn’t directly answer the question, I think he’s leaning towards Duterte. We can confirm that once we see in which senatorial lineup he will be in soon.