Senator Pia Cayetano: Some proper perspective is due the whole Torre de Manila brouhaha

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While I find a bit justified the whole stink being raised around the way the Torre de Manila highrise condominiums being constructed in Manila by developer DMCI Homes is supposedly “ruining” the view of the Rizal Monument, I think we are missing the bigger picture. Metro Manila is an ugly city. And that ugliness did not happen overnight. It was decades in the making.

Torre de Manila 'photo-bombing' the Rizal Monument: Mere symptom of systemic rot
Torre de Manila ‘photo-bombing’ the Rizal Monument: Mere symptom of systemic rot
The Torre de Manila circus became a low-level stink when “cultural activist” Carlos Celdran lodged a complaint against it in 2012. It is a high-profile media circus now that Senator Pia Cayetano is involved. The question of what happened between 2012 (when there was nothing marring the “view”) and 2014 (with the half-finished building now blighting the scene) is a microcosmic version of the overall macro question:

What happened between 1960 when Manila was a pretty city and 2014 when everyone suddenly woke up to Manila’s absolute wretched ugliness?

Indeed, the 2-year descent to ugliness described by the Torre de Manila incident may as well be the story of Manila’s 50-year descent from Pearl of the Orient to Human Cesspool.

If Senator Pia Cayetano is going to make this Torre de Manila a Senate issue, then please, madame why not make Metro Manila’s jeepney infestation, estero degeneration, MRT bulok disease, squatter cancer, and all the other components of the Philippine capital’s massive urban decay problem high-profile Senate issues as well?

The Torre de Manila circus is but a mere symptom of Metro Manila’s profound dysfunction and nowhere near the scale of less-prioritised social cancers like what I had enumerated above. That core dysfunction eating the city from the inside has festered for decades. And it is all because there has never been a vision for Metro Manila — only generations of two-bit private-sector initiatives to milk as much money out of this grotesque megalopolis that accounts for more of the entire Philippine economy than all of the other nation’s major cities combined.

The more worthwhile Senate inquiry therefore should go to the root of the problem — why has no such vision, no such comprehensive planning, and no such coherent governance been applied to the development of the Philippines’ premier metropolis?

Anti-Torre champ of the moment: Senator Pia Cayetano
Anti-Torre champ of the moment: Senator Pia Cayetano
The Philippine Senate is not a local racket. It is a national racket. Senators like Cayetano should be focused on macro national issues. Otherwise she may as well move herself back into the House of Representatives if she wants to continue to pander to these trendy boutique issues.

By addressing the rot upon which maggots like jeepneys, squatters, traffic, criminals, and — yes — crooked development projects like the Torre de Manila feed, Senators like Cayetano will give Filipinos more bang for the buck they pay them.

Time to step up. Step up beyond politics. Step up beyond these inconsequential outrage fads. Step up and prove that the Philippines is on its way to overcoming its world-renowned heritage of smallness. You can’t cure a kid’s kuto infestation by picking on her scalp like a chimpanzee. You need to apply solutions befitting the intellect of human beings.

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10 Comments on “Senator Pia Cayetano: Some proper perspective is due the whole Torre de Manila brouhaha”

  1. benign0, this just highlights again the absolute lack of depth of knowledge, thought or feeling of the people sitting in the Philippine Senate. That woman might as well pass legislation on the latest hairstyle or how to clean wax out of your ears.

    Celdran has made a profession out of activism, without really knowing what he’s talking about, comprehending only what is apparent or obvious. I’m not saying he is unintelligent, but he as well should pick on things that would really make a difference. That aside, being a bit less arrogant won’t hurt him either.

    In this case Celdran and Cayetano should hook up and get a room in “Hotel Superficial”. Then emotionally and intellectually make out…

  2. It is indeed a simple (and ugly) reflection of the larger picture of ineptitude and poor management besetting the capital. It is ironic that the supposed ‘gem’ of the Philippines will turn out to be nothing more than a stockpile of horrid profiteering monoliths meant to eat away the very essence of cultural pride and venerable national identity.

  3. Honestly, no one really cares about the view, tourists don’t come to the Phils. to see rizal park and the filipinos who go there are contented that they don’t need to pay for a movie to have make out sessions. Leaving the ‘view’ has no economic benefit whatsoever but that building will create jobs.

  4. A part of me is just not sure how to really feel about this.

    The rules should be applied fairly and properly and not what is popular at the moment. Because seriously, it just does not make sense.

    Like for the area around UST, I know there is a zoning rule there than no building should be higher than the UST Main building so that the focal point (highest point) would be UST’s building. But you can clearly see that other building have gone way above it already.

    Mabuhay Rotunda should also be higher than the surrounding, but that’s also out the window. If I am not mistaken on this issue.

    If DMCI pursued the proper channels, getting zoning exemptions and what not, and were given the go ahead, why would it be illegal then?

    I am not pro-DMCI here but I am just against kneeling to the loudest voice in a crowd.

    If the entity (DMCI in this situation), got proper permits and clearances, yet is still hindered by outside forces even after going through the proper channels, shouldn’t there be more discussion as to why it ended up happening instead of just focusing on the building itself?

    True, zoning is said to have allowed only 7 storeys but I found articles saying they sought exemption and were granted it. If so, then the pursuit of the exemption is not wrong. Where were those who sought to “preserve” the view during the hearing for the application of exemption? Wasn’t Carlos Celdran already part of Manila LGU at the point already (2012 to present)?

    Since everything is technically legal then, if this building is to be torn down, then since it is a legal construction but for compliance, then the city/national government should technically reimburse them for the costs given the flip flopping of the decision of legality as well as exemption.

    To avoid these issues, areas where there is a national concern governing it should go first through a national agency then before going to the local level/LGU (City hall).

  5. Bang! You hit it right on the head! The lack of vision for the Philippinesm and not just for metro manila. Indeed, let’s all step up! I agree with your statement:
    And it is all because there has never been a vision for Metro Manila — only generations of two-bit private-sector initiatives to milk as much money out of this grotesque megalopolis that accounts for more of the entire Philippine economy than all of the other nation’s major cities combined.
    The current vision is that we have let the private control the afairs of state, and weakened the rule of good governance for the good of all, and the favored more the moneyed capitalists and oligarchs in cahoots with politicians and legislators, in order to make moree money for themselves to the perdition of many who are very poor and jobless.

  6. Cayetano has a “hidden” ambition to run for higher public office position…that is why she is : (1) Pa Charming, (2) Looks like a Beauty Queen. (3) Drum up some senseless issues, to be noticed…

    This is idiot Filipino politics…

  7. The Woman is just a leech, her and her idiot brother is it? Two bookends with nothing in-between.

    Manila truly is a depressing/disgusting place to visit(traffic crime and filth OH BOY!) and I have stepped off a plane a NAIA for the last time. Cebu or CDO or I dont go (yeah yeah, stay home I know I know…WHAH!!!!) to the countryAs you can only suffer thru the gates of hell but so many times, b4 you do anything to avoid it.

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