Friday, 16 October 2009

Arroyo approves extreme Metro Manila makeover

By Christian V. Esguerra, Julie M. Aurelio
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines — Pushed by the great flood brought about by Tropical Storm “Ondoy” (international codename: Ketsana), President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Thursday gave the go-signal for an urban development project that would rid Metro Manila of tens of thousands of informal settlers and modify its landscape.

At the Legislative and Executive Development Advisory Council (Ledac) meeting in Malacañang, Sen. Edgardo Angara broached the idea of changing the “topography and geography” of parts of Metro Manila in the wake of Ondoy’s devastation, according to Press Secretary Cerge Remonde.

Remonde said Ms Arroyo was amenable to the proposal and wanted the project to take off from the 1977 Metro Manila Transport, Land Use and Development Project.

He lamented that the project received what he called a “Mona Lisa treatment” from previous administrations that allowed it to “just lay there and die.”

“Why should we start from scratch when there is already something?” Remonde said at a media briefing after the Ledac meeting. “The idea here is to use the master plan as a starting point.”

Ms Arroyo apparently was so interested in the study that she asked architect Felino Palafox Jr., one of its proponents, to present it at a Cabinet meeting.

“The President is very serious in considering it,” Remonde said. “The President will have the political will until the end of her term.”

He said Ms Arroyo had “nothing to lose” in implementing drastic changes in Metro Manila’s urban setup since she was serving the last few months of her term.


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