Government defends P7.8-M flagpole
MANILA, Philippines—Government agencies defended on Wednesday the P7.8-million flagpole project, saying it is a “national monument” and would “enhance the heritage value” of Rizal Park.
“This project to us shall enhance the heritage value of the park and the national monument of our national hero,” Juliet Villegas, executive director of National Parks Development Committee (NPDC), told INQUIRER.net.
As part of the commemorative project for the 150th birth anniversary celebration of Philippine national hero Dr. Jose Rizal, the new flagpole, formerly at 100 meters in height, would be reconstructed with additional 50-meters and a mechanized pulley.
After the photo of the project details went viral on the internet, it earned the ire of netizens saying the P7.8 million budget for the flagpole was exorbitant.
Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Jr. also backed the project, saying it “is more than just a flagpole. It is a national monument. Kilometer Zero. Starting point of all journeys.”
Department of Public Works and Highways-National Capital Region Director Reynaldo Tagudando, meanwhile, said that the beautification of Rizal Park would entice more tourists.
“This project is part of the long-term Roxas Boulevard Development Plan. After this project, the flagpole will be called the ‘Philippine National Flagpole,” Tagundado said in an interview with Radyo Inquirer 990 AM.
He said the target completion date of the development project would be before December 30, in time for the commemoration of Rizal’s 117th death anniversary.
Tagudando, moreover, assured the public that the budget for the flagpole was not “overpriced.”
“We have nothing to hide. The project allotment and costs were all itemized,” he said.
Villegas said the NPDC requested the DPWH-NCR to provide both the funds and the evaluation of its structural analysis to “balance the [flagpole’s] foundation and height.”
“Since 2011, we went through the process of evaluation, technical plans, and bidding until now in the implementation. Its pricing was done within the procurement process of the government,” she said.
Project contractor AKH Construction said the materials that would be used for the mechanized flagpole were imported from Hong Kong, including two cranes and high-quality steel (Q345 steel), the Public Works and Highways official said.
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