MMDA: We won’t hide slums from Miss U bets
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will not conduct a massive beautification drive to hide the scenes and faces of poverty in the capital for the Miss Universe pageant on Jan. 30.
This is a departure from what the government usually did when hosting major international events, when high walls or billboards rose overnight to conceal slum areas along major roads.
MMDA officer in charge and general manager Tim Orbos explained that in keeping with President Duterte’s directive, the agency would not implement any beautification project to hide the poor from the 90 Miss Universe candidates.
“This is reality. There’s nothing to be ashamed of,” Orbos told reporters in a recent interview, saying the country’s hosting for the third time of the Miss Universe pageant was not a reason to hide the “true state of Metro Manila” from the eyes of the global community.
Orbos said the MMDA would just continue its regular cleanup activities in the runup to the coronation night on Jan. 30.
In 2012, when Metro Manila hosted an anti-poverty summit, a billboard was installed to keep international delegates from seeing a slum community near the airport in Parañaque City. A wall was again erected along the same route during the visit of Pope Francis in January 2015.
During the country’s first hosting of the Miss Universe pageant in 1974, former First Lady Imelda Marcos was criticized for installing whitewashed walls to hide Manila’s poor from foreign visitors.