City of Manila

the Manila Financial Center…at the reclaimed Manila Bay?

A few months ago, I wrote about the plan of the Manila City Government to convert the Manila South Port area into  a business district and aired my opinion about it.

Then recently, I came across this news item in the Manila Bulletin, which talked about some changes in the plan for the “Manila Financial Center”

Quoted from the news item: “The Manila City Council has given Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim the green-light to seek permission from the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) to reclaim a portion of Manila Bay and transform the body of water into a sprawling financial district of the city…The newly passed ordinance was signed by (Manila Mayor Alfredo) Lim and Vice Mayor Isko Moreno…

Earlier, Lim announced that he had been mulling on putting up a financial district in the city…in a 20-hectare idle lot in the Manila Port Area. However, the plan was shelved due to legal issues.”

This would in effect overturn a previous Manila ordinance way back in 1993 that prohibited any reclamation activity at the Manila Bay side under Manila’s jurisdiction which would roughly run from the US Embassy to the Manila Yacht Club along the stretch of Roxas Boulevard. An ordinance signed by, none other than Mayor Lim himself.

It so, then one could no longer see the famed Manila sunset you get to see along Roxas Boulevard and the Baywalk area that has been promoted for so long, perhaps to be replaced by some new baywalk or boulevard that one may have to go to a few walks further.

For someone who has gone to appreciate the natural beauty that is the Manila Bay sunset along Roxas Boulevard, it saddens me to think that this view we’ve grown used to might be soon replaced by a view buildings on its stretch. I still believe that this is a “gem” Manila should preserve in the midst of the pressing need for space and reclamation in a metropolis being stretched to its limits. However it saddens me to think that despite this gem, Manila & the Roxas Boulevard area still need a new lease of life with what’s it’s going through right now, especially after how the place got messed up over the last few years…thanks partly to the shenanigans of Lim’s city government.

But there’s a bigger issue Manila needs to face, and that the need to improve on a lot of things in the city: in aesthetics, security, cleanliness, and the way of life. If the city cannot fix things and get its act together to revitalize the bad-in-shape downtown area, I’m sorry but I have to be a bit more pessimistic about its more ambitious goal of a Manila Financial Center.

Still, I wish Manila the best of luck and hoping somehow that this dream gets realized in some way.

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