Giving Jose Rizal another black-eye PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 05 March 2016 13:34




LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “… The house of the wicked will be destroyed, but the tent of the upright will flourish…” (Proverbs 14:11, the Holy Bible).

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GIVING JOSE RIZAL ANOTHER BLACK-EYE: If you passed by Bonifacio Drive until the point where it meets Roxas Blvd. alongside Luneta Park in Manila in the early morning of Friday, March 04, 2016, you would have been among the hundreds and hundreds of motorists who cursed the Department of Tourism, the Philippine Tourism Authority, the City Government of Manila, a big gasoline company, and the Rizal Park and Luneta authorities.

Why? Well, the portion of Roxas Blvd. coming from Bonifacio Drive cutting through the Luneta Park was enclosed with temporary fences by these government agencies and private company, thereby preventing the free flow of usually snail-paced vehicles in the area and causing a monstrous traffic jam, just to give way to either a car racing activity or a marathon or walking contest by the gasoline company.

What is more, the open grounds between Roxas Blvd. and the Quirino Grandstand were also filled with big and dirty tents which looked like they were un-kept or abandoned and grimly-foreboding warehouses, giving another ugly and gloomy appearance to the area directly fronting the monument of the Philippine national hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal.

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WHY THE DIFFERENT TREATMENT? The question that came to my mind right away when I got confronted by this scenario was, “who closed a big portion of Roxas Blvd. even without sufficient notification to the riding public?” And, why was the big gasoline company allowed to hold an event on a place that is considered  a “global heritage site”, to the extent even of desecrating the statue and the park of Rizal?

I had to ask that question because just last December, I assisted a big charity organization known worldwide for giving service above self to hold in the same open grounds between Roxas Blvd. and the Quirino Grandstand a Christmas bazaar that would have enabled it to raise much needed funds for its service projects, particularly its fight to eradicate polio.

Much to the surprise of the officials of the international organization, however, top managers of the Department of Tourism and the Philippine Tourism Authority rejected the request to use the same open grounds for a bazaar, allegedly because of the rule that the open grounds should not be used for any activity that would demean Rizal and the park that was built in his honor.

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MILLIONS OF REASONS: Demean Rizal and the park built in his honor, my eye! Surely, the fencing off of Roxas Blvd. and the entire open green spaces between it and the Quirino Grandstand with giant enclosed tents in the middle thereof being thrown in for good measure, demeaned Rizal Park more than the bazaar that the international organization proposed to hold.

I really don’t know how the big gasoline company managed to convince tourism officials to allow it to put up a fence barring vehicles from freely passing through Roxas Blvd. enroute to Pasay City and Paranaque City, but, I am certain that a lot of pressure from powerful officials caused the Department of Tourism and Philippine Tourism Authority to close their eyes to the damage the gasoline company’s project would cause to the park.

Or, perhaps, the Department of Tourism and the Philippine Tourism Authority had the advantage of millions and millions of reasons to compel it to concede to the project of the gasoline company, something that people who were mere volunteers of the international organization which wanted to hold a more prudent use of Luneta and the Rizal Park did not have. Talk about “straight path” at the DOT and PTA, really!

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