Closing Rizal Park over the holidays not the solution
Barricading Rizal Park for the New Year’s Day celebration represents another modification to the park’s running that is to the detriment of the recreational experience of park visitors. I say “another” because, through the years, the park committee has set measures that did much disservice to the purpose of the country’s prime freedom park, such as closing it for the night and perennially fencing off large sections for overdue regreening.
Rizal Park has been the breathing space for us Manila dwellers who need to unwind and recharge from our daily urban stress. It is our sole place for rest and relaxation; this we cannot avail ourselves of in other parks in the western section of Metro Manila.
For decades, both city inhabitants and visitors have spent Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve in Luneta. These holidays serve as our sabbath after a whole year of preoccupation. Also, we do not come only for the purpose of rest: We are also festive, fired up by the jovial thought that the holidays are special days when everyone is merry and benevolent toward each other.
With the influx of the crowd comes the recurring littering problem. Nonetheless, the decision to close down Luneta’s main grounds for New Year’s Eve speaks poorly for the administrative integrity of the National Parks Development Committee (NPDC). Instead of implementing measures to discipline and educate parkgoers to prevent the mess from happening again, the NPDC deprived the public of the chance to enjoy the park’s amenities which, in the first place, are supposed to benefit the people. The committee ought to let the people use the park, while also working to educate them on how to help maintain order and cleanliness in the place.
I hope the new administrative measures of the NPDC will not change the purpose of Rizal Park—a park built for the benefit and enjoyment of all Filipinos.
FRANCIS RAYMUND M. GONZALES, firstname.lastname@example.org
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