MANILA -- A controversial condominium project being built behind Jose Rizal's monument in Luneta was approved because it can help boost Manila's economy, a city official said Thursday.
Manila Councilor Joel Chua, chairman of the Oversight Committee of the Manila City council, told dzMM that the taxes the city will earn from the condominium project can paying the Manila's debts.
"Malaking karagdagan po ito sa aming buwis. Bukod pa po ito sa makakapagbigay ng trabaho sa mamamayan ng lungsod ng Maynila," he said.
Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada also earlier said the construction of Torre de Manila will boost the city's economy.
The Manila City Council has allowed the project's developers, DMCI Homes, to resume construction after work was temporarily suspended due to several issues such as violation of zoning regulations.
The condominium, once completed, will ruin the sightline of the Rizal Monument, an important national and cultural symbol.
Chua, however, said the construction of the condominium went through proper channels. He said it received building and zoning permits from the previous administration.
He added that in a meeting between representatives from DMCI Homes, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) and the park administrators of Luneta, it was agreed upon that the project did not violate any national laws, aside from its violation regarding its floor area ratio.
The project is also built outside the park's protected area.
The construction of Torre de Manila was suspended in November 2013 after several groups filed petitions against it.
"Du'n po sa zoning board, 'pag ka may labag po ang mga building meron pa po silang hakbang, meron pa po silang step para sila ay maaprubahan, 'yun po ay pag-a-apply ng apela sa Manila Zoning Board of Adjustments and Appeals (MZBAA)," Chua said.
MBZAA approved the project after DMCI Homes complied with requirements.
"Ang naging batayan po nila eh hindi na po kung ito ba ay naba-block, ang nagiging batayan po nila e kung ito ay nagko-comply sa mga green building."
Chua said the project was approved because of the economic gains the city will get.
"Trinato po namin sila kagaya po ng ibang mga building na nag-a-apply ng exemption, so ang kinokonsidera po d'yan is 'yung profit at iba pa po, more on local concerns hindi po 'yung more on national concerns."
"Ang naging problema po ngayon dito meron po silang existing zoning at meron din po silang existing building ordinance bago pa po pumasok ang kasalukuyang administrasyon," Chua added.