Get a whiff of Payatas, QC councilor tells Regine Velasquez
MANILA, Philippines — Take a whiff next time you swing by Barangay Payatas — it might surprise you.
“Payatas is no longer a garbage-smelling barangay,” Quezon City Rep. Precious Hipolito-Castelo declared on Tuesday, as she took umbrage at singer Regine Velasquez’s social media comments about the stink in the former dump.
Castelo, who represents District 2 covering Payatas, said Velasquez’s description of the place as “mabaho” (smelly) was uncalled for and hurtful to residents of the community.
In a video blog promoting her bag collection, Velasquez recalled visiting Payatas for a documentary on street children, and how, upon leaving, she had noticed a terrible smell.
“So after the shooting I thought I was still in Payatas, but it turns out it was my bag that stunk. It smelled even worse than Payatas,” she said, laughing.
After drawing flak, the singer apologized on Oct. 12, writing on Twitter: “I would like to sincerely apologize to the people of Payatas for my insensitive comment. It was not intentional and I should be more careful with the things I say.”
But Castelo, vice chair of the House Metro Manila development committee, said Velasquez should be told that Payatas was no longer the same place as the one in her memory.
“She could be misinformed that’s why she made statements that were hurtful to the decent families of the locality,” the lawmaker said.
Payatas earned its bad reputation for its old landfill which has since closed down. The dump made headlines in July 2000 when a landslide of garbage killed more than 200 people.
Castelo, however, said Payatas had transformed into a “fast-rising” community.
“We do hope that Ms Velasquez will share time to see that Payatas is not the dump site that she sees, but more of a fast-rising barangay with hospitable, industrious, and persevering people,” she said.