What are they doing to the QC Park?
The Quezon City government wants to take control of the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center, which was established and is being run by the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. What? And destroy it like what it is doing to the nearby Quezon Memorial Park?
Just look at what Quezon Circle has become after the QC government took control of it. It is no longer a park but a huge parking lot, a haven for vendors, a carnival ground, and a lot of other things. Construction within the park goes on and on. Once a project is finished, work starts on another. The park is becoming crowded with too many structures.
It was better when it was being managed by a group led by former Vice Mayor Charito Planas, which had to depend on donations. It didn’t have too much money so the park was not overbuilt.
Then the city government took over. It has an abundance of money, but what a way to spend that money, with one construction after another. Look at the Quezon Memorial Park now. It is becoming a concrete jungle.
A park is supposed to be a green open space with plenty of trees, grass, plants and flowers, a few animals, perhaps a small pond with fish in it, plenty of fresh air. In other words, a place for people to escape the heat and confines of the concrete jungle they live in. The city government is now removing the ample space and greenery from the Quezon Memorial Park and putting in more concrete.
The grass under the trees where people used to relax and picnic with the family has been removed and the areas paved with concrete to turn them into parking lots. The park, by the way, charges parking fees from hordes of jeepneys, trucks and even truck trailers, as well as private cars. More money coming in. A whole colony of sarisari stores have been constructed in a circle within the park. The vendors have to pay fees to the park. More money. The vendors, by the way, use the stores not as stores but as dwelling places. A big part of the park has been leased to a group operating a year-round carnival. Still more money.
But there is no accounting of the money coming in. There is also no accounting of how much taxpayer money is being spent for the many constructions in the park. There is no master plan for the park for the people to see. They don’t know what is going to happen to their park, what construction is going up next, and what it is for. The public just sees the open space and grass constantly disappearing and replaced with concrete. Right now, there is a big construction in progress, with a big area fenced in. Many people are asking what is going on there, but they cannot see what mystery is happening behind the fence. And neither the park administrator nor the city government is telling them.
Visit the park now and you will bump into so many concrete structures where there used to be grass and trees and open space. Charito Planas used to complain about the lack of funds. Now the problem is too much money being spent. That’s money coming from the pockets of Quezon City’s taxpayers.
People ask why the construction never ends. Answer: Because construction means more money for the contractors. And more money for the contractors means more money for you-know-what.
The problem of most local government units is the lack of funds. The trouble with the Quezon City government is that it has too much. Quezon City is now the richest city in the Philippines, richer than Makati or Taguig or Manila, thanks to its taxpayers. So much money, in fact, that its officials have a field day spending it for “ghost” employees, for the pork barrel of councilors, for the allowances of the councilors and other officials, for the tarpaulins, posters, banners, signs, waiting sheds, and concrete posts all bearing the names of city politicians. Yes, fellow citizens, all those signs advertising the names of politicians are being paid by us, the taxpayers. The politicians are paying for all those advertisements not with money from their own pockets but with money coming from our pockets.
The city government has so much money but it does not provide housing for its homeless people. Quezon City is still the squatter capital of the Philippines. The city government is overbuilding the Quezon City Park because it has too much money to spend. Why not use that money to establish more parks? For a city as big as Quezon City, it should have a park like Manila’s Luneta or New York’s Central Park. It should be able to keep the city neat and clean. It should be able to give its taxpayers more benefits.
In fact, the whole of Metro Manila has no main park, with the exception of Rizal Park, like they have in many other cities of the world. At the rate condos, office buildings, and malls are going up in Metro Manila, it would soon be a concrete jungle with the people suffocating from the lack of oxygen and space.
Stop turning the Quezon Memorial Park into a concrete jungle. What it needs is not more concrete but more space, more grass, trees, plants and flowers, a pond and a petting zoo with baby domestic animals. And keep your hands off the Ninoy Aquino Park.
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