Teachers and students of Jose Abad Santos School in the Tondo district of Manila held their own demonstration last Monday, the first day of school. They were protesting their transfer to new school buildings in the old Namarco compound at the end of Dasmariñas Street, just off Escolta Street. They don’t want to move to the new site because it is far from their homes. They have to take two jeepney rides to get there, whereas they take only one to the old site. Besides, they have to pass through a squatter colony and they are afraid the students would be held up.
Senators Lim and Jamby Madrigal, several Manila congressmen and councilors rushed there early Monday morning because of the protests, attracting media people. I noted that the school buildings were still in very good condition. It seemed such a waste to tear them down.
So why do they want to tear them down? It’s because a land developer wants to get hold of the three-hectare campus. Megaworld Corp. is going to build a shopping mall and multi-story condominiums on the site of the school buildings. Megaworld did not even pay cash for the property owned by the city of Manila. According to Lim, the lot is worth P120,000 per sq m.
Instead of cash, Megaworld is paying for the property by giving some of the residential units in the condominium to the city government and by constructing new school buildings in the Namarco compound. Those buildings are now finished.
Lim said the deal, authorized only by a resolution -- not an ordinance -- by the city council, is grossly disadvantageous to the government because the land is worth much more than the value of the condo units to be turned over to the city government and the new school buildings put together.
Lim said there are reports that the councilors have been promised half a million pesos each to pass the resolution and that all but seven of the 36 councilors voted for the resolution. He added that there are reports that half of the amount (P250,000 each) has already been paid, with the balance to be given once the transaction is completed.
It looks like they won’t get the rest of the money because Lim said he would rescind the contract when he becomes mayor. To compensate Megaworld for the school buildings it constructed, the Manila government will buy it and convert it into a hospital for the people of the Tondo-Binondo area.
I think that’s fair enough. This should make everybody happy, except of course for some people at City Hall.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Mayor Lim prevented the Jose Abad Santos High School (i know that place) from being turned into a god damn shopping mall by the previous group of peeps who ran Manila. And yes, dapat imbestigahan ito.