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Most expensive city hall

08:21 PM July 05, 2011

MAKATI CITY Hall is the most expensive city hall building in the country and Vice President Jejomar Binay should not have been the University of the Philippines’ most outstanding alumnus.

The report that the Iloilo City Hall is the Philippine’s most expensive city hall (Inquirer, 6/15/11) was off the mark by a mile. Its cost of P48,000/sq m is puny compared to that of the Makati City Hall, which VP Binay constructed in the 1990s, when costs were much lower.

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Assailed for costing P260,000/sq m, the city hall of Makati did not cost that much, according to the city’s spokesman. “It cost only P220,000 per sq m,” proudly announced Binay’s apologist.

Binay was haled to the Office of the Ombudsman because of this project, but somehow he managed to dodge the bullet, so to speak. And his constituents were never able to see a just closure of the case, where billions of pesos were wasted on a monstrous white elephant.

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I always dread the days that I have to do some business with the officialdom of Makati City. For one thing,  the City Hall’s elevator system, supposedly costing a fortune, is all messed up so that it’s easier to go up and down the shabby stairs.

Another project that cost Makati a bundle was Binay’s “Sister-City Program.”  From the time he became head of Makati City, he set up this program with the end in view of promoting his chances of becoming  president.  This enabled him to host visiting city officials from other parts of the country and to fund  a number of their projects. A big chunk of his votes in last year’s election can be ascribed to this program.

Then came the biting commentary of Solita Monsod on Binay’s selection as the 2011 “Most Distinguished Alumnus” by the UP Alumni Association. (Inquirer, 6/25/11)  I agree with her that the process of his selection was most irregular and that—although she did not say it expressly—Binay does not deserve the selection, if we go by the four criteria for evaluating nominees: service orientation, leadership, impact and integrity. There must be thousands of UP alumni who deserve the distinction more than Binay.

President Aquino and the other graduates of the Ateneo de Manila University must be thinking that the concept of the “Daang Matuwid” is alien to UP.  The UPAA must immediately withdraw the recognition bestowed on Binay and apologize to the UP community and the public.

—ALBERTO BRILLANTES,

Makati City

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TAGS: City Hall, Iloilo city, Jejomar Binay, letters to the editor, local governments, Makati
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