The MMDA and Escolta Redevelopment

Count me as one of the people who are not that fond of how the current administration of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is handling some of the problems Metropolitan Manila is facing today, from some of its traffic schemes to the problems of some of its traffic officers, among others, But that does not mean I would not give them some sort of praise if the situation warrants it.

This happens to be one of the things that I make such praise, thanks to the recent news that the MMDA is lending a hand in the revitalization in the old business-commercial district of Escolta by proposing a creation of an “Escolta Redevelopment Administration” to “help revive the area as transport, tourism, business, and culinary heritage hub and to assist the City Government of Manila.”

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino talking about proposed Escolta Redevelopment Administration in a recent meeting with stakeholders in the Escolta area (photo courtesy of the MMDA’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/notes/mmda/mmda-chairman-proposes-the-creation-of-escolta-redevelopment-administration/725740034145559)

According to a statement by the MMDA, the idea came about after the reopening of the Pasig River Ferry system and the Escolta Ferry Station, as it was noted that Escolta was the most popular destination among a great number of ferry passengers during the first two weeks of operation. That should not come as a surprise, given Escolta’s proximity to Binondo and Divisoria.

To note, there are ongoing efforts by different sectors to revitalize this once vibrant area with business owners like the Escolta Commercial Association, Inc., (ECAI) heritage groups like the Heritage Conservation Society (HCS) and its youth arm, the Heritage Conservation Society-Youth, (HCS-Y) and the Escolta-based artists studio 98B (which organizes the monthly flea market in the First United Building called Future Market) working hand-in-hand to bring Escolta to life once again. There are also plans/pronouncements put forth by the Manila city government in the past of its commitment to Escolta’s revitalization, though there have been no concrete plans set forth yet due to the city government’s more focused at this time in matters like lowering debt, improving security, and other more pressing matters in the city that needed more attention.

Now with the MMDA entering into the scene, one can only hope that this would lead to better things ahead that will help move things forward towards Escolta’s revitalization. For now, let us wait and see what will happen next while having some little optimism that this will be a good start for a place as historic, yet long-neglected area as Escolta to be given its due that it rightly deserves.

for more information and updates about what’s going on in the Escolta area, check out the Escolta official Facebook page

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