VP aspirant Bello says to create more parks if elected as he hits dolomite dumping

Josiah Antonio, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 28 2021 07:11 PM

Former Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello. Facebook account
Former Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello. Facebook account

MANILA — Partido Lakas ng Masa vice presidential bet Walden Bello said Thursday he and his running mate Leody De Guzman will work on creating more public parks and spaces if they win in the 2022 elections as he hit the dolomite beach project in Manila Bay which hundreds of people have visited since over a week ago amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Kapag kami ni Ka Leody [De Guzman] ang mahalal, ipaglalaban namin paramihin at palawakin ang mga parks at mga pampublikong espasyo sa bansa," Bello said on Twitter.

(If Ka Leody [De Guzman] and I are elected, we will fight to increase and expand parks and public spaces in the country.)

"Higit pa run, ipaglalaban namin na palakahin ang sahod at magkaroon ng regular na trabaho ang lahat upang ang lahat ay magkakaroon ng kakayanang makasamang mamasyal ang pamilya at mahal sa buhay."

(Moreover, we will fight to increase wages and have a regular job for everyone so that all will have the financial capability to stroll around with their families and loved ones.)

Bello opposed the dumping of dolomite sand at Manila Bay and the failed regulation of people visiting the area.

In a series of tweets, Bello explained that dumping dolomite sand in the area will only harm the environment.

"Maling-mali na magwaldas ng milyon-milyong piso mula sa kaban ng bayan para sa isang beach na nakakasira ng kalikasan habang napakaraming kababayan natin ang nagugutom at nahihirapan ngayong pandemya," he said.

(It is a mistake to squander millions of pesos in public funds for an artificial beach that destroys the environment, while so many of our countrymen are starving and suffering from this pandemic.)

As he criticized the failure of authorities to regulate the visitors of the beach, the activist and scholar notes that the overcrowding manifested the lack of public parks and spaces in the country.

"Maling-mali rin na hindi ni-regulate ng gubyerno ang pagpasok ng napakaraming tao sa nasabing “beach” habang rumaragasa pa rin ang pandemya. Subalit may mas malalim na problema na itinatampok ng pagdagsa ng daan-daang tao sa Dolomite beach: ito ay ang labis na kakulangan ng mga parks at iba pang pampublikong espasyo sa Kamaynilaan at sa buong bansa," Bello said.

(It is also wrong for the government not to regulate the entry of so many people into the said “beach” while the pandemic is still raging. But there is a deeper problem highlighted by the influx of hundreds of people to Dolomite beach: it is the extreme lack of parks and other public spaces in Manila and across the country.)

"Kulang na kulang ang mga lugar kung saan maaring mamasyal ang mga manggagawa at mga ordinaryong tao kasama ang kanilang mga kapamilya o kaibigan. Kaya naman napipilitan silang magpunta na lamang sa mga mall—kung saan hindi rin naman nila kayang mamili dahil sa liit ng mga sweldo nila. O di kaya’y napipiltang maligo sa maruming tubig ng Manila Bay para lang magpalamig o magpalipas oras," he added.

(There are very few places where workers and ordinary people can go for a walk with their family members or friends. That is why they are forced to go only to malls — but where they cannot afford to shop because of their low salaries, or to bathe in the dirty waters of Manila Bay.)

Environmental groups earlier urged the government to stop putting more dolomite at Manila Bay, and instead use the funds for the project for the COVID-19 crisis.

The government defended the project, saying its budget had been allocated before the pandemic struck and that it would revive businesses along Roxas Boulevard.

Following the influx of visitors since the soft opening of the beach to the public on Oct. 16, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources said this week it will impose additional measures to control the crowd and ensure health protocols are followed.

The beach will also be closed from Oct. 29 until Nov. 3 as the country observes Undas 2021, and every Friday for maintenance works.

Bello is currently an adjunct professor of sociology at the State University of New York at Binghamton, according to Laban Ng Masa.

The former lawmaker is among 29 vice presidential aspirants next year, including Dr. Willie Ong, Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza, and senators Kiko Pangilinan, Tito Sotto, and Bong Go. The list will be trimmed in the coming months to remove those found to be nuisance candidates.

The official campaign period for national position candidates for the May 9, 2022 elections will start only on Feb. 8, 2022.

RELATED VIDEO:

Watch more on iWantTFC