Francisco Moreno Domagoso is a Filipino politician. He is the 27th mayor and a former Vice Mayor of the City of Manila, the capital city of the Philippines; and a former three-term councilor of the city’s first congressional district. The life of Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso is a story of success, triumph and victory. It is an inspiring story that reminds us that poverty and deprivation are not hindrances to success.
As city mayor, Domagoso is mandated to supervise local projects, enforce laws, and ensure delivery of basic services and facilities. Since 2019, he has focused on improving infrastructure, through health facilities, public school buildings and various beautification efforts. More recently, he has led the city’s COVID-19 response programs.
Also under Domagoso’s leadership, Manila topped the 2020 ranking of highly urbanized cities by the Department of Trade and Industry whose metrics are based on economic dynamism, government efficiency, infrastructure, and resiliency. The city fell to second place in 2021, trailing behind Quezon City.
He ran for senator in 2016 under Partido Galing at Puso Coalition but failed to secure a seat after placing 16th with 11.1 million or 24.95% of the total votes.
Born: October 24, 1974 (Age 49)
Birthplace: Tondo, Manila, Philippines
Spouse: Diana Lynn Ditan
Education: Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, Arellano University, University of the Philippines
Children: Vincent Patrick Moreno, Drake Marcus Domagoso, Frances Diane Moreno, Franco Moreno, Joaquin Andre Moreno
Movies: Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo
Reared by doting parents, Joaquin and Rosario Domagoso, whose natural desire was to see their only child succeed in life, the Domagoso family was beset with problems endemic to most families in Parola, Tondo. His father worked as stevedore at Manila’s North Harbor, earning barely enough for their family’s needs. Thus, Isko Moreno even at an early age was aware of his social and economic condition and standing. Because of poverty, he missed the luxury of boyhood joys, like toys, new shoes and clothes and other things a young person usually craves for.
As the only child, Isko Moreno took upon himself to share the burden of earning for himself and his family. He was in Grade 4 when he started gathering old newspapers, plastics, carton boxes, used bottles and any reusable and recyclable junk worth selling. These went on until he finish his elementary grades at the Rosauro Almario Elementary School. For his secondary education, Isko Moreno went to the Tondo High School. Now a budding teenager, he ‘”promoted” himself into a pedicab driver. In high school, Isko Moreno was likewise deprived of teenage indulgences like parties, outings, proms and other activities inherent in growing adolescents because he was busy eking out a living. Undaunted by these early setbacks in life, Isko Moreno knew that adherence to hard work and belief in oneself are the key ingredients to success.
Upon graduation from high school, deeply committed and firmly determined to advance and change his economic status for the better, he enrolled at the Philippine Maritime Institute, hoping to earn a degree in Marine Engineering, a course many Filipinos believed would free them from the abyss of poverty by plying international waters with the hope of earning the mighty dollar. In 1992, while enrolled at the PMI, fate intervened.
At a wake in Tondo, star maker Wowie Roxas spotted this dashing young man. With an inherent talent and physical attributes of a star material, Isko Moreno entered the life of glitter and glamour and he adopted the screen name Isko Moreno as a tribute to his discoverer and mentor. He started his showbiz career in the “That’s Entertainment” program hosted by German (Kuya Germs) Moreno. Like most up-and-coming showbiz talents, success was not easy.
Isko Moreno landed only small roles but patience and perseverance paid off. From bit roles, he landed big projects that propelled him to be one of the most promising actors of his time. Yet, in spite of the glitter of the silver screen, Isko Moreno never lost focus on his dream.
In 1998, in his desire to help alleviate the sad plight of his neighbors in Tondo, Isko Moreno began a new leaf of his life-a career in politics and public service. In that year’s elections, in spite of being a neophyte politician, he was elected among the top Councilors of the 1st District of Manila. His showing surprised a lot of political observers. In 2001, he was re-elected, garnering the most number of votes than any other Councilor in all the 6 districts of the City. His winning ways continued that in 2004, he landed among the top notcher- Councilors in that year’s elections. His stint as a 3-term Councilor speaks for itself. He authored and sponsored pro-poor ordinances and resolutions especially in concerns like education, health, and housing. His political stand always find him at the side of truth and righteousness, a move which necessitates him crossing party lines and sometimes foregoing personal gains when these run in contrary to the interest especially of the poor and unprivileged, the very people he vowed to serve.
Notwithstanding his political successes, Isko Moreno continued to seek his life-long dream to conquer poverty thru education. In spite of heavy work load demanded by the City Council and his public service initiatives, thru the help of former Manila Vice- Mayor Danny Lacuna, he found time to obtain a degree in Management at the International Academy of Management and Economics. In preparation and anticipation of a fruitful and efficient public service career, he took up crash courses on local legislation and finance at the NCLRG of the College of Public Administration, university of the Philippines. Not content with these accomplishment and certainly not a person who will siton the laurels he has achieved, Isko Moreno’s aspiration for greater educational attainment were far from over. Now on his 2nd year at the Arellano University School of Law, this once upon a time garbage collector and pedicab driver is on the verge of a victorious quest.
Drawing inspiration from an equally talented, supportive and understanding wife, Dynne and 4 adorable kids, Isko Moreno’s dream took another step forward in May 14, 2007. Backed by his outstanding legislative agenda and a meritorious public service record, Manileños elected him overwhelmingly as the youngest ever Vice Mayor and Presiding Officer of the City Council.
As a Councilor of the 1st District of Manila, Isko Moreno was adequately appraised of the ills and problems of the City. But coming to grips with reality, he was awed by the magnitude of the problems facing Manileños. So even before the ink could dry out in his oath of office, Isko Moreno buckled down to work. He soon learned that the biggest of those concerns are the medical and health needs especially of the poor and needy. Staying healthy and fit became his advocacy. Thereafter, medical missions in depressed areas of the City became weekly events. And to address the high cost of medicines, Isko Moreno established “BOTIKA NI ISKO“, a mini-pharmacy right at his City Hall office, wherein medicines and vitamins are given free. To date, some 13, 200 have availed of this program. Moreover, referrals to various medical facilities and social fund institutions have benefited thousands of indigents. Other projects under health care initiatives are the summertime Operation Libreng Tule, Oplan Katarata and Oplan Kagat Aso, an anti- rabies immunization activity for pet dogs.
Ever aware of the importance of education as a means to liberate people from the throngs of poverty and helplessness, Isko Moreno launched an ambitious program, ISCOM, which aims to provide people from all walks of life to be computer- literate so that they will be competitive in the world of information technology. Starting with just one (1) Computer Learning Center in 1999, ISCOM have branched out to 7 locations all over the City. Likewise, in partnership will well – meaning friends, the ISKOLAR NG BAYAN program continues to provide free scholarships to poor but deserving students. Also, Lakbay Ala lay Program has benefited those who could not afford to participate in educational tours and experiences.
Even before the advent of the global financial crisis, Manileños continue to suffer economically due to joblessness and the inadequacy of jobs opportunities. Since 2007, Isko Moreno’s Trabaho Para Sa Manileños program have conducted some twenty (20) local and overseas job fairs which resulted in thousands of job generated. In coordination with the POEA, TESDA and the Department of Labor, Trabaho Para Sa Manileño program is a constant source of joy and happiness to families who were given the opportunity to land jobs to support their needs.
In response to the needs of the call center industry, training programs have been created to afford Manileños the chance to get involved in this “sunshine” industry. Countless job seekers are given job referrals to various business and commercial establishments who, more often than not, are accommodated and accepted.
In pursuance of the initiative to make daily living easier and manageable, the Asenso Manileño program was launched. Thus born services like, ‘Murang Karne at Pagkain ” free legal services, free haircut, libreng tubig and others.
Always believing that educational skills and knowledge are better acquired thru modern facilities and methods, a program better known as PEP or Promoting English Proficiency was initiated thru the assistance of the American Chambers of Commerce- Phils. Today, 10 computer speech labs are installed at the Isko Moreno’s alma mater, Tondo High School, providing training and refresher courses to both members of its faculty and students.
In February 2008, due of the increasing incidence of fire, Isko Moreno purchased an Engine Firetruck to help abate and fight fires which has caused loss of countless lives and properties. Based in Tondo, Manila, the Kaagapay Engine Firetruck managed by volunteer fire fighters are ready to respond to any emergency and need.
To be better appraised of local situations, dialogues with community folks and their leaders are periodically conducted, wherein the true and real pulse of local folks are directly known. As a result, responses to their needs and concerns are correctly formulated.
As Presiding Officer of the City Council, Isko Moreno has presided over the passage of countless resolutions and ordinances whose primordial concern to benefit of the place of his birth and City of his dreams.
The budget of the Office of the Vice – Mayor can hardly cope up with the demands of its constituents. Luckily, Isko Moreno possesses the skill and charisma of encouraging the rich to share their blessings with the poor. Thus, in spite of his meager and limited resources, Isko Moreno is continuously providing public service due to the help and generosity of friends and supporters. One the factors and primary reasons for the success of every Isko Moreno project is the guidance being provided by the KAAGAPAY FOUNDATION, an NGO whose faith in the vision of Isko Moreno to make Manila a safer, healthier, better and happier place to live in is beyond reproach.
In the 2010 local elections, Isko Moreno ran under the aegis of the Asenso Manileño Program and was reelected with a voting record never before witnessed in the City of Manila. He garnered 485,828 votes or 80.12% of the total votes cast. With this overwhelming margin and fresh mandate Manileño bestowed upon him, Isko Moreno vowed to repay and reciprocate this kind gesture with an honest, dedicated and efficient public service and governance. Isko Moreno’s advocacies and vision for the City of Manila is unwavering and consistent- that the welfare and benefit of his beloved City and its residents his primary, principal and primordial consideration, priority and concern.
In May 2012, Joseph Estrada, the former President of the Philippines, announced his intention to run for Mayor of Manila but only for one term in 2013. He intends to run with Domagoso, who is running for re-election as Vice Mayor.
Estrada said, “I’m done with the presidency in Malacañang. Now, I will be moving to the city hall of Manila.” He drove his famous “Jeep ni Erap” from San Juan to his new house at Altura, Sta. Mesa, Manila to ceremonially launch his candidacy. He was joined by his wife, former Senator Loi Ejercito and the Manila Vice Mayor. At least 25 of the 28 Manila councilors who were inducted last week as members of Estrada’s Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino, joined them in welcoming him.
Domagoso said Manileños welcome Estrada and his wife, adding that they will try to make their stay in Manila comfortable.“We are humbled that the former president of the Philippines will live and stay in Manila,” Moreno said. “We are thankful he had chosen Manila,” he added.
On February 16, 2013, Domagoso and other five councilors was 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, Manila, and he believe that Mayor Lim was involved in 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 announced that he would run for Senator of the Philippines. He lost in his bid placing 15th place overall.
On July 2017, President Rodrigo 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, Isko Domagoso Moreno won the mayoralty of Manila, over incumbent and former President Joseph Estrada via a landslide win of close to 150,000 votes more than the closest contender. Mayor Moreno was then officially proclaimed winner by the City Board of Canvassers the following day, 14 May. Joseph Estrada conceded defeat also on the evening of 13 May.