By Joel Caballero, ANC | 03/19/2010 7:22 PM
MANILA, Philippines – Former Environment Secretary Lito Atienza is seeking the mayoralty post in Manila once again.
In an interview in ANC’s Headstart, he alleged that incumbent Mayor Alfredo Lim has no plans to develop the city, and has only occupied himself in putting up various restrictions throughout the city.
Atienza also lashed at Lim for stopping various programs under his administration.
“What Manila needs today is a genuine development plan that will provide opportunities for a healthy business climate, economic development, employment and the correct philosophy of governance. Di pwede yung bawal-bawal. Every time the mayor says bawal, it only adds to corruption because pag pinagbawal mo. Lagay dito, lagay doon,” Atienza said.
“What Manila needs today is a genuine development plan that will provide opportunities for a healthy business climate, economic development, employment and the correct philosophy of governance. You can’t keep saying this is illegal or that’s illegal. Every time the mayor says it’s illegal, it only adds to corruption because if you say it’s illegal, it will lead to bribes.”
Atienza claimed the city government lost a lot of revenue when Lim ordered the closure of bars, restaurants and other shops in Baywalk along Roxas Boulevard.
“It injected life in Malate, Ermita, Remedios, Intramuros, and all those parts in Manila boomed in development. High-rise buildings were put up, investments rolled in. Can you imagine all the employment and economic opportunities which were lost because of that one single act which I cannot understand?” Atienza said.
Pandacan oil depots
The former mayor also criticized Lim for allowing oil depots in Pandacan to stay. He believes the potential danger posed by the depots is discouraging businessmen from investing in the city.
“How can Manila now develop if you have a place where you have 300 million liters of gasoline at any given time and the age of terrorism is in our midst? You cannot afford to endanger properties and, of course, you are discouraging investments. No serious investor will go to that part of Metro Manila where you have an oil depot beside you,” Atienza said.
Atienza believes his relationship with Lim turned sour after Lim lost in his presidential bid in 1998.
“Maybe, out of bitterness. He lost and I won [as city mayor], and he told everybody: ‘Si Atienza, hindi ako sinuportahan’ (Atienza didn’t support me). That’s false,” Atienza said.
ANC’s Headstart tried to contact Mayor Lim but he was unavailable for comment.
Former Manila Assemblyman, General Manager of the National Housing Authority, Manila Vice-Mayor for 6 years, Mayor of Manila for 9 years, and Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources