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Manila Mayor Launches Campaign for Philippine Presidency

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno answers questions after he declared his bid to run for president in a speech at a public school in the slum area near the place where he grew up in Manila, Philippines on Sep. 22, 2021.

Isko Moreno, the mayor of the Philippine capital, Manila, announced Wednesday he is running for president of the Pacific archipelago.

The popular politician announced his candidacy for next year’s general election during a speech in an impoverished Manila neighborhood, asking supporters to “accept my application as president of the Philippines.”

The 46-year-old Moreno rose to prominence from an impoverished childhood scavenging leftover food from restaurants and collecting junk to sell for money to a career in the movies after being spotted by a talent scout at a funeral, according to the mayor’s website.

During his tenure as mayor, Moreno has pushed through a public works initiative to clear Manila’s busy thoroughfares and restore order to its public markets.

He joins a crowded field of candidates aiming to succeed President Rodrigo Duterte in next May’s election, including Manny Pacquiao, the boxing legend and a current senator; another senator, former national police chief Panfilo Lacson; and Vice President Leni Robredo.

Moreno’s vice presidential running mate is Willie Ong, a cardiologist with a 16 million-strong following on Facebook due to his free medical advice. Ong will face Duterte himself, who is constitutionally barred from seeking a second term as president. The president and vice president are elected separately in the Philippines.

Some information for this report came from the Associated Press and Reuters.