Lim: Don’t blame me; ‘ugly’ Manila spots under nat’l gov’tBy Erika Sauler
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Don’t look at me.
Mayor Alfredo Lim has washed his hands of a writer’s observation that he has done nothing to stop the “uglification” of Manila by the “willful defacing of the city’s cultural landscape” and the demolition of old, historic buildings.
In a recent interview, he said that most of the problems cited in the article, “How Manila has become a portrait of ugliness” which came out in the Inquirer Lifestyle section, were the responsibility of national agencies, not the city government.
“It’s a bit misleading,” Lim told the Inquirer, referring to the article.
“The Intramuros Administration is not under my authority. The Metropolitan Theater used to be owned by Manila City government but now it is owned by GSIS. So why blame me? I [just want] to set the record straight,” he said.
On the issue of informal settlers who have taken over parts of Intramuros, Lim commented: “We have that [problem] all over the National Capital Region. The President has already released P10 billion for their relocation, half of which went to the National Housing Authority to put up houses in relocation sites.”
He agreed, however, that the presence of squatters “contributes to the erosion of the environment. But they are not criminals that you can just haul off in trucks. You have to conduct dialogues, offer relocation sites. You have to do the soft approach.”
Lim said that two days before Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo died in a plane crash, they discussed the transfer of informal settlers with Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chair Francis Tolentino and Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson.
The Inquirer talked to a city councilor aligned with the opposition who agreed with Lim that some of the problems tackled in the article were under the national government’s jurisdiction.
Councilor Dennis Alcoreza, however, said that no one was stopping Lim from doing what he could to provide solutions.
“[Intramuros] is under a national agency but it is also inside Manila. When tourists visit, will they ask whether the local or national government is in charge?” he added.
Earlier, former President Joseph Estrada cited the “decay” of Manila as one of the reasons for his decision to run for mayor in 2013.
“There is lack of governance. The city government has no direction. There is congestion. Squatters, double parking in the streets, sidewalk vendors all over. The peace and order situation discourages business. What Manila needs is a complete urban renewal,” Estrada said.