ONLINE INTERVIEW WITH MAYOR JOEY MARQUEZ


Picture of Mayor Marquez and SOP4 Seron during the ChatFrom left: Mayor Marquez, Chief of Police, SOP4 Seron

Rey Carolino and Rene Peregil of the FILIPINO TODAY Newspaper in Canada conducted an online interview with the Mayor of Paranaque, Metro-Manila, Philippines- Joey Marquez- and the Paranaque Chief of Police- Colonel Prudencio Tolentino Regis Jr.   Mayor Marquez was a former professional basketball player and the husband of actress, Alma Moreno. The interview was arranged for Filipino Today by SPO4 Meneleo (Leo) A. Seron of the Philippine National Police (PNP). He provided the computer facilities and Internet connection for Mayor Marquez and Colonel Regis.

In the first picture above, Mayor Marquez (left) and SOP4 Seron (right) are shown sitting in front of the computer that was used during the chat. In the second picutre, Mayor Marquez (left) is shown with the Chief of Police (middle) and SOP4 Seron (right).  For a larger view of the two pictures above, click on those pictures. After viewing the picture, click on the BACK button to go back to this transcript.

The chat interview was done using an Internet program called Internet Relay Chat (IRC). For a brief discussion of IRC, check the article "CHATing andTALKing on the NET". Rey logged on from Etobicoke, Ontario while Rene was calling from Mississauga, Ontario. SPO4 Seron logged on in the Paranaque City Hall with Mayor Marquez and Colonel Regis (known in the chat as COP- Chief of police) and is known in the chat as LASERON.

The chat was done last February 12, 1997 starting at 7:00 pm (Toronto time) which is 8:00 am, February 13, 1997 in Paranaque.

Here is the transcript of the online chat:



Session Start: Wed Feb 12 18:26:10 1997

*** Now talking in #filtoday

*** Rene (~bg555@206.186.115.145) has joined #filtoday

<Rey> Hello, Rene.

<Rene> Hi, Rey. Wala pa ba sina Mayor?

<Rey> Wala pa.. Let me check my e-mails kung merong message.. hold ..

* Rey checks his e-mails

<Rey> Wala pang email.. baka nag se-setup pa sila.

* Rey is reviewing his questions for the interview...

*** Laseron is on IRC

<Rey> Here they come....

*** Laseron (laseron@204.71.208.66) has joined #filtoday

<Rene> Okay, ayan na sila, Rey

<Rey> Hello, Hepe.. Nasaan ka ngayon?

<Laseron> Good Morning to everybody

<Rene> Good evening sa iyo, Hepe!

<Rey> Good morning, Hepe.

<Rene> Good morning nga pala dyan, Hepe.

<Laseron> The mayor is on the way, in fact nasa ibaba na. Nakikipag usap lang sa mga tao

<Rene> Okay!

<Rey> Good... nandiyan ba si Alma?

<Laseron> Hindi ko pa nakikita, maraming tao kasi sa ibaba. Wait muna at bababa lang ako for 5 minutes to check them.

* Laseron went down to check Mayor Marquez.

<Rey> Okay, we'll be here..

<Laseron> Nandito na ulit ako

<Rene> Good.. nandyan na ba si Mayor? Alma Moreno?

<Laseron> Wala pa si Mayor, nandoon pa sa ibaba, may mga kausap na taong palengke. Anyway, nandoon si COP nag-hihintay din kay Mayor. Wala yata si Alma e. Hindi ko nakita yong sasakyan.

<Rey> COP I believe is "Chief of Police"?

<Rene> Ano ang pangalan ni COP?

<Laseron> COP is Colonel Prudencio Tolentino Regis Jr. (Police Superintendent)

<Rene> Thanks, Hepe.

<Laseron> Okay, Gentlemen.. the Mayor is here!

<Rene> Good morning, Mr. Mayor.

<Rey> Mr. Mayor, it is great privillege for us to be chatting with you in this very exciting medium. My name is Rey Carolino and I'm doing this interview from my home here in Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada. We will be publishing this interview in the FILIPINO TODAY newspaper published here in Toronto and circulated among the Filipino communities in Canada.

<Rey> Rene is Rene Peregil who is, like me, a Filipino Today staff and member of the FILIPINO COMMUNITY COMPUTING SECTOR (FCCS) here in the Toronto Free-Net. He is calling from Missisauga, Ontario.

<Mayor Marquez> It is likewise an honor and privillege to be interviewed online. I hope I will give you interesting answers to your questions and I hope you will limit your questions to the problems and achievements in Paranaque and not my love affairs.. Strict ang parents ko e!

<Rey> How much time would you give us for this inteview, Mr. Mayor?

<Mayor Marquez> We can have from today until next week if you wish.

* Rey laughs

<Rene> Mr. Mayor, here is our first question: what social services do you have in place for the people of Paranaque?

<Mayor Marquez> One of the thrust of this municipal government of the new administration is to be able to implement laudable services to the people that includes legacies to the community, one of which is the enhancement of peace and order program to boost the athmopsphere of economy and to be able to make Paranaque the safest place for any individual to live in especially the children. We are also providing advance education program for the public schools.

Livelihood is one of the most important program. We have put up a municipal employment program and training to cater to the existing businesses and industries for employment

We also have this vision of practically cementing all the roads and alternative roads to decongest some of the main roads.

Environment is the most important project. We cannot compromise environment to progress. We are very conscious in that project as the density of population over environment is very much guarded.

The professionalism of the municipal government employees for them to understand that we are just the servant of the people and not the boss.

We also enhance the sports development to divert the existing problem of drug addiction in the community...

We make sure that all of the 16 barangays that we have, that each and everyone of them shall have ambulances, fire trucks, rescue vehicles, and enough policemen to guard the community..

All elective officials have mandatorily attended a seminar for moral recovery program, to put their positions not in their minds but in their hearts.

We have a saying here "A public official should have eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart that feels". Parallel to that saying that "the weak shall be made strong and the strong shall be just....." That connotates a symbol of faith, unity, for progress.

<Rene> Mr. Mayor, can we answer one question at a time please?

<Mayor Marquez> Okay, please go ahead...

<Rene> When you say "practically cementing all roads, and alternative roads", do you mean road widening aspects or land approapriations?

<Mayor Marquez> We have already appropriated and exappropriated for widenings and new roads already.

<Rene> You mentioned about enhancing sports development? Do you create city sport programs for the people of Paranaque? Do you have complete sport facilities all over Paranaque for your people to use?

<Mayor Marquez> We do it per barangay programs by putting more activities every month that is subsidized by the municipality, this includes basketball, tennis, swimming, boxing, baseball and recently golf- all of which is funded by the municipal government.....

We have also participated in some of the national games, representing the municipality of Paranaque. In fact we shall be hosting the World Shootfest in 1998 that will be held in the grounds of Marina, here in Paranaque.

<Rene> Back to my question on road cementing or improvement, do you have room in the city of Paranaque to widen roads and expropriate lands?

<Mayor Marquez> Yes, in fact we are 90% finished on the latest fast track road in Don Bosco to Moonwalk.  It is a two kilometer wide cemented road that will be eventually be a main thoroughfair to the commuters.

<Rey> Last time I visited my relatives in Levitown Subdivision, the water situation was terrible. Is this still a problem in those areas?

<Mayor Marquez> Believe it or not, even in my own house, water is a problem, for this is a national issue. But we are already trying our best to solve the problem in a small scale level.. by inviting some foreign investors to invest in a very lucrative investment which is water.....

In fact we have already signed a memorandum of agreement with the VIOLAGO Group of Companies by putting a P700M project that will pipe in water coming from Pangil, Laguna to Paranaque in a stretch of 45 km that will give us a volume of 30M galoons a day. It is a two year project. At the same time on the oppositte side of the municipality, we are on negotiating with an Australian investor on a disolination project..

<Rene> Mr. Mayor, with regards to pollution- do you intend to reduce pollution on your city?

<Mayor Marquez> Pollution is a very minimal problem in our community, for we have strictly implemented the environment ordinance for factories, commercials and even residentials as well as vehicles that causes pollution.

<Rene> What about the reliability of power? Do you have plans to improve that? In a small scale basis..like or shall I say for your own city only?

<Mayor Marquez> Power is not a problem with us. We have enough supply coming from the national with regards to power. In fact one of the plants is located within our neighbor municipality.

<Rey> The Prime Minister of Canada together with all the premiers of our provinces recently made a visit to the Philippines. Did you get a chance to meet them? Any business dealings with your city?

<Mayor Marquez> As much as we would like to have a meeting with him, we did not have a chance for his visit was very short.

<Rey> What would be a good investment project for Canadian businessmen in the city of Paranaque?

<Mayor Marquez> Boulevard 2000 is within Paranaque. It is practically 1,400 hectares of reclamation which is the front line of the national agency here in Paranaque. It is going to be a substitute site for Hongkong that will create an atmosphere of business... Maybe the Canadian businessmen can come in on a BOT scale...... We are also looking for investors for the waste management program....like putting up incenerators..

<Rene> Going back to pollution.. what environment ordinance do you implement on smoke belching jeepneys?

<Mayor Marquez> We revoke their franchise permits on smoke belching and for permits, we give them guidelines to follow for them to operate...

<Rey> What would you say are the most significant accomplishments of your administration since you take over the rein of the city?

<Mayor Marquez> I think the most significant accomplishment is not the project of infrastructures and among others for these are the projects of the people of Paranaque.. The accomplishments of the new administration is that we have brought back the respect and credibility of the people to the municipality by initiating the idealism and principle of government service....

<Rene> Let's go back a bit here..on environment? Do you have enough city staff to look after the cleanliness of yout city?

<Mayor Marquez> Yes, we have a little more than 500 manual personnel, a department of environmental and sanitation office, that monitors the surroundings, we have coordinated with the national agency department of environment and natural resources to assist us in monitoring also the protection and at the same time we are also implementing an ordinance that says every person should plant a tree.

<Rey> When is your term as Mayor going to finish? Will you be running for re-election?

<Mayor Marquez> By 1998 my term will expire. I have this principle, I will not ask for the position and just wait for the people of Paranaque to offer it again, mainly because the title of a mayor is not a career for me but a moral responsibility as a contribution for the service of our community.

<Rey> Does your wife, Alma Moreno, has an official position in the City? What are her projects?

<Mayor Marquez> She does not have any position aside from being my wife, but she have put up an NGO to help in cleanliness and sanitation that includes the revival of dead creeks, funded by their own foundation and she'll also put up a "Libre Libing Foundation" for families who cannot afford to bury their dead.

<Rene> Social services, for people who cannot afford medical attention, are they being denied of this service if they cannot afford it? On education, children who cannot attend schools, does your administration looks into this?

<Mayor Marquez> In medical, we have put up the "Blue Card" for medical assistance. This blue card is given to families who has an income of 5,000 pesos and below. They are given free medical treatments in our public hospitals from minor to serious treatments.....

In education, we have 27 public schools and for this year we are putting up a community college for free...... At the same time the office of the Mayor also sponsors 200 deserving students under a scholarship program for collge.

<Rey> How prevalent are computers in the city's operations, Mr. Mayor? Does the city has Internet access?

<Mayor Marquez> Not yet, we do not have Internet access for the meantime for we are concentrating on LAN (Local Area Networks) access that is ongoing right now- for other barangays to have complete access on what's going on in the municipality.

Maybe a year from now, residents of Paranaque will not have a trouble of going to the municipality, to the access of computers, that includes business permits, land tax payment, and other documents that they will be needing, for each individuals will be given a code access to tap the information in the municipality as a symbol of transparency.

<Rey> Do you have a regular TV show?

<Mayor Marquez> I concentrate more as a public official. I seldom appear in show business, only if I need the money for my children's daily milk and needs. As you all know, as a public official since I started, I haven't seen my salary for it is directly put in the scholarship program. TV shows? Once in a while...

<Rene> Does the COP reports directly to you? How big is his responsiblity?

<Mayor Marquez> COP reports to me on a daily basis. His responsibility is to implement the program of safety and criminality free, and he'l be responsible for it.

<Rey> How was the Michael Jackson concert? We heard several cities refused to hold his concert except Paranaque. Were you pressured also to refuse him with a venue? Why did you not join the boycott?

<Mayor Marquez> The Michael Jackson concert was very successful, in fact today, we are known in some of the countries that there is such an area in the Philippines called Paranaque, as a venue for the international entertainment...... The issue there was the child molestation, the proper court in the United States did not convict the person. The main objective here is to provide entertainment to the Filipinos particularly the young generations to have the chance to see their idol in person and I believe Michael Jackson will perform his talent on stage in singing and dancing not on molesting children.

<Rene> If the COP is avilable there with you, How big is the City and how many police patrols the City day & night? What is the response time on trouble calls?

<COP> The municipality is 58 square kilometers to include the reclaimed area. It has night time population of 580,000. There are 240 effective personnel strength divided into two shifts. Response time is 3 to 5 minutes. We have 11 mobile cars specifically used for patroling the municipality. If not for the 8,700+ Bantay Bayan volunteers of the Mayor, we will be in a dillemna. Can you help us with equipment?

<Rey> What equipment?

<Rene> Equipment such as capsicum spray COP?

<COP> We need more police vehicles and radio equipment.

<Rene> Is the city's budget for the Police department not enough to provide equipment?. i.e police vehicles? portable radios? mdt's?

<COP> The budget for the police comes from the National but the municipality complements it. Fortunately, the Mayor is very conscious of his police force and is very supportive to the police.

<Rene> There was a very brief newsflash here in Toronto last January 28 or the 29 about a shooting that happened in the PNP HQ of Paranaque.. can you expand on that?

<COP> There are times when nature destroys itself and man can only do its best at a certain level, we cannot fight nature always.. yet the perpetrator was arrested and charged with murder.

<Rene> 580K population 11 police cruisers? Is that enough to serve and protect the people of your city?

<COP> That is why the local government supports us with both equipment and personnel. Would you believe that of the 35 police cars, only two belongs to the PNP... the rest are from the Mayor's support.

<Rey> How is the Police organization in the Philippines currently structured? Do you report to the Mayor? Who appoints the Chief of Police? The Mayor?

<COP> The mayor is part of the chain of command, he selects the chief of police from a list submitted by higher headquarters.

<Rey> How is the crime rate in Paranaque compared to the national average?

<COP> The crime rate in Paranaque is very low.. There are even times that the Mayor is asking why there are no incidents.

<Rey> Is the Mayor still there?

<Mayor Marquez> Yes, still handsome and waiting for you.

<Rey> Mr. Mayor, how's your sister, Melanie Marquez, doing? Is she still in showbiz? Do you have other brothers/sisters in showbiz?

<Mayor Marquez> She is still okay aside from her ako lang in show business.

<Rene> Mr.Mayor, if invited by the people to run again, do you have plans other than what's in place now? If so, what vision do you see for your city?

<Mayor Marquez> I will run again and continue the vision of making the city of Paranaque the best city. Let me just give you a showbiz line: If Makati is now called the Megastar and Quezon City is the Shining Star, we will make Paranaque the Superstar!

* Rey claps his hands

<Rey> I understand you used to be a basketball player. Which team did you play before? Do you miss your playing days?

<Mayor Marquez> I played with the Alaska team, Ginebra and Great Taste as professional. I also represented the country in my amateur days in some international competition. These include a few: the World Youth basketball games in Sao Paolo, Brazil, the Philippine American Basketsball games in Los Angeles, the ASEAN games held in China, the Pesta Sukan in Singapore and among others before i turned to pro. Yes, I do miss basketball but I love the poeple of Paranaque more.

<COP> The Mayor now plays basketball with street children.

<Rey> This is a favourite question of mine whenever I do a celebrity interview. Could you describe to us a typical workday for you from the time you get up from bed to the time you retire for the day?

<Mayor Marquez> I wake up at 5:30 in the morning, attend to the visitors in my house, go to office at 7:00 am, attend to more than 500 visitors a day, finish at 12 o'clock noon, with 15 minutes lunch break, visit all of the 16 barangays up to six o'clock, make sure that all activities and projects are implemented. Goes home at 7:00pm to attend some visitors again up to 9:00pm. Have my 15 minutes dinner. Goes back to the municiplality to attend to some paper works. Finish at 11:00 pm and visit funeral wakes of my constituents, finish at 2:00am, visits the surrounding for the collection of garbage. Goes home at 3:30 AM and sleep. Sometimes I forget that I have a wife and children.

<Rey> How about a typical weekend, Mr. Mayor? Could you describe your weekend?

<Mayor Marquez> Attend some social functions like wedding, baptism, birthdays, and attend to some of the medical and dental outreach programs by my wife. Usually, I make sure that on Sundays, the family will have dinner together. And thats about it.

<Rene> COP, If you only have 2 shifts to patrol the city, do they run 12-hour shifts? And if you only have 11 cruisers.. 2 officers per cruisers? On a 12-hour shift? Must be brutal?

<COP> You may not believe it, but that is really true in Paranaque and other places in Metro-Manila. Lack of police personnel have been a perennial problem but we are used to it and our policemen are good at it.

<Rey> Is the first lady with you right now, Mr. Mayor?

<Mayor Marquez> No. She is now submerged in some creeks, cleaning it up and collecting garbages.

<Rene> Mr. Mayor, how about a Filipino-Canadian Amateur basketball games here in Toronto sometimes? Can we organize something like this?

<Mayor marquez> As much as we want to, but this is under the jurisdiction of the Basketball Association of the Philippines.

<Rey> Dr. Romeo Adea, the father-in-law of my sister and who used to live there at Sunvalley, is here in Toronto with us right now and is extending his regards to you and your wife. He wants me to ask you if you still love to eat "talong" :)

<Mayor Marquez> That is the most favorite ulam. I can eat talong everyday, probably it is the reason why I'm tall, 'cause I've been eating it since I was 3 yrs old.

<Rey> Where were you born, Mr. Mayor and where did you spend most of your growing-up years?

<Mayor Marquez> I was born in Mabalacat, Pampanga. I am 36 years old, born October 7, 1960. Practically live in Pampangga two thirds of my life. Believe it or not, I used to be a janitor in Clark Airbase and study at night time. Incidentally, I am a commerce graduate, major in accounting. Graduated in Angeles University.

<Rey> Any plans of visiting Toronto in the near future?

<Mayor Marquez> I love to visit toronto, but the problem is I can not afford it. Perhaps you can invite us so that I can have a chance to see your beautiful place in Toronto.

<Rene> Mr. Mayor would you consider visiting or exchanging with Mayors of different cities up here in North America?

<Mayor Marquez> Yes, definitely.

<Rene> Would you also bring your spouse for a speaking engagement here in Toronto, Mr. Mayor?

<Mayor Marquez> I will die without her, yes!

<Rene> COP, are your police vehicles equipped with MDT's?

<COP> No, unfortunately, not yet.

<Rey> How many children do you have, Mr. Mayor? Do Vandolph and Mark Anthony live with you?

<Mayor Marquez> I have enough children. Yes, Vandolf and Mark stay with me with two more adopted daughters.

<Rene> How much advance notifications do you require if we invite you and your spouse to Toronto? Can we invite you directly, Mr. Mayor?

<Mayor Marquez> Yes, just give me 2 weeks so that I can prepare for my permit to travel and at the same time so I can save for my pocket money.

<Rene> Would SPO4 Seron and the COP be interested also to join you if that happens?

<COP> We will not let the opportunity pass. Definitely, we would like to go.

<Mayor Marquez> Do you play golf?

<Rey> I don't but Rene is a "pro" golfer.

<Rene> Not really, but I do play golf! I love the game too after basketball!

<Mayor Marquez> But perhaps, Rene and I can have a round of golf, say 4-4? My handycap, aside from my Mother-in-law is 20.

<Rene> Good.  If this opportunity comes.. we will definitely advise you all!

<Mayor Marquez> It is a dream come true for us.

<Rene> Sure, Mr. Mayor. Definitely, I would enjoy playing a round of golf with you!. No doubt.

<Rey> Rene will work on that, Mr. Mayor- he has good connections with the filipino businessmen here.

<Mayor Marquez> Do you have bible study there?

<Rey> Lots of bible studies here, Mr. Mayor. Is that something you do always?

<Mayor Marquez> Yes, I would like to attend one too and share God's blessings to us.

<Rene> Mr. Mayor, I will be working on this... and will constantly inform you through SPO4 Seron about this issue okay?

<Mayor Marquez> Perhaps you can also arrange to the Filipino community there in Toronto for me to attend and have an exchange experience.

<Rey> We'll definitely work on that aspect, Mr. Mayor.

<Rene> Most definitely! We will contact some people involved on these Bible studies... and that will ba a good opportunity for you and everyone of your staff to be involved too!

<Mayor Marquez> Looking forward to it.

<Rene> Well. We will certainly look forward to meeting you all here.. hopefully, we can attract sponsors to bring you all here even for a week visit!

<Rey> On behalf of the FILIPINO TODAY publication staff and the FILIPINO COMMUNITY COMPUTING SECTOR (FCCS), I would like to thank you, Mr. Mayor, and the Chief of Police for joining us in this interview. I would like also to thank SPO4 Leo Seron of the Paranaque National Police for arranging this chat interview for us. We hope we can do this again in the future.

<Rene> My sincere thanks and appreciation to Mr. Mayor Marquez, to the Chief of Police and to you SPO4 Meneleo A.Seron. Thanks and bade you good night..bye for now from Rene G. Peregil

<Rene> Bye, Rey!

*** Rene (~bg555@206.186.115.145) has left #filtoday

<Rey> Good night from Toronto! Hepe, till our next chat interview.

<Laseron> Okay then, the Mayor has left. Bye.

[Session Close: Wed Feb 12 21:30:53 1997 ]


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