Atienza to Estrada: Remove oil depot, revive Baywalk


THE BAYWALK strip facing Manila Bay in 2004 before it was cleared when a new administration took over City Hall. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

The removal of the Pandacan oil depot, the return of the Baywalk strip and the revival of Avenida Rizal as a pedestrian-friendly area are among the projects that former Manila Mayor Lito Atienza wants to see under a city government run by Joseph Estrada.

“I would like Erap (Estrada’s nickname) to continue my urban renewal projects when he sits as mayor,” Atienza told the Inquirer on Thursday, when he and the former President and now Manila mayoral candidate held a press conference to show their alliance against the reelectionist Alfredo Lim.

Atienza, who served as Manila mayor from 1998 to 2007 and is now a nominee of the Buhay partylist group, also denied reports that he was supporting Lim. This was after posters appeared in the streets showing him and the incumbent mayor together.

“What this poster is showing is not true and it did not come from us,” he said in Filipino. “Everything I did back then was destroyed by Lim. So how can I identify myself with somebody who had damaged Manila?”

He maintained that he and Buhay, the party-list group of El Shaddai evangelist Mike Velarde, are backing Estrada’s candidacy but that this endorsement doesn’t extend to his running mate Isko Moreno and other party mates.

Asked what he would like Estrada to accomplish should he win, Atienza cited three initiatives of his own administration which he wants revisited.

The former mayor recalled that he pushed for the removal of the Pandacan oil depot for posing dangers to the residents, something which Lim later blocked despite the passage of an ordinance approving the facility’s relocation.

Atienza said he also opened the Baywalk bar and restaurant strip along Roxas Boulevard facing Manila Bay, which Lim also closed down when he took over.

He also closed Avenida Rizal to vehicular traffic and converted it into a wide walkway.

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