‘Keep Rizal Park free of garbage’

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11:31 PM December 27th, 2012

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December 27th, 2012 11:31 PM

THE DAY after Christmas feels anything but a holiday to sweepers at Rizal Park who are faced with the gargantuan task of cleaning up the mounds of trash left behind by park goers. RICHARD A. REYES

Don’t bury Jose Rizal under a huge pile of trash.

The National Parks Development Committee (NPDC) has appealed to visitors of Rizal Park in Manila to dispose of their garbage properly after the estimated 500,000 people who visited on Christmas Day left 50 truckloads of trash.

Four million people are expected to go to the park to mark the beginning of 2013.

“We are appealing to our countrymen this coming New Year’s celebration to bring their own trash bags or be responsible and maintain the cleanliness of Rizal Park,” Kenneth Montegrande, NPDC spokesperson, said yesterday.

He added that a day after Dec. 25, the NPDC collected around 50 trucks of garbage “that was left by 500,000 park goers on Christmas Day.”

“Families who come to visit could bring their own trash bag or dispose of their garbage properly. In our experience, park goers just leave their trash wherever they want,” Montegrande said.

“Although we have many sweepers and park attendants, park goers should still throw their trash in our trash bins or bring them home for proper disposal,” he added.

According to Montegrande, the NPDC under Executive Director Juliet Villegas expects a 100 percent increase in the number of people who will spend New Year’s Eve at the park compared to last year’s two million.

“We expect to double that because we have new attractions and our events are free. We will also have a bigger fireworks display than last year. The city government of Manila has also agreed to join our New Year countdown,” he said.

“Even foreign tourists visit. We’ve even been called the Times Square of Southeast Asia,” he added.

Montegrande said around 300 policemen, security guards and volunteers would be deployed at the park to ensure that the holiday celebrations were peaceful.

“We also have our CCTV (closed circuit television) cameras in place. In fact, we did not have any crime reported during Christmas Day. We only had 96 children who were separated from their family,” he said.

Montegrande added that parents who lose their children should go to the Aguinaldo House on Ma. Orosa Street.

“We have our command center there. So parents who will bring along their children should write down their name, address and cell phone number and put this on their bracelets or pocket so that they could be easily located,” he said.

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