By Claire Morales True, Managing Editor
MANILA – The mayoralty race in Manila is heating up two months before the local election campaign starts.
This as businessman-lawyer and Manila mayoral candidate Alex Lopez said the renovation for P1.7 billion and the conversion of Manila Zoo into a vaccination site was “a mistake.”
Lopez, son of the late Mayor Geminiano Mel Lopez,, is the candidate of the Marcos-Duterte team under the Partido Federal Pilipinas . He is up against Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna-Pangan, a doctor of the Asenso Manileno party of Mayor Francisco Isko Moreno Domagoso; and independent former Manila congressman Amado Bagatsing of Kabalikat ng Bayan Tungo sa Kaunlaran (KABAKA).
Lopez said he believes the zoo’s renovation, which cost P1.7 billion, is “untimely.”
““Kung kulang ang pagkain sa hapag kainan, kulang ang trabaho, palagay ko ho hindi po napapanahon na itayo ang Manila Zoo, i-renovate for P1.7 billion, budget po ng tatlong probinsya yan. Eh sino ba ang pupunta sa zoo ngayon? (The P1.7 billion is already a budget for three provinces. And who would go to the zoo right now anyway?),” Lopez said.
“Sa tingin ko mali na naman yan… Magkiki-create lang ‘yan ng coronavirus [COVID] pero ginawa naman nila ng vaccination center. Alam n’yo naman na ang zoo ay maraming mikrobio dyan (In my opinion, it is a mistake… it will only create more COVID but they made it a vaccination site anyway. You know that a zoo has many microbes) and you don’t have to be a genius, just go to Google and you’ll see several animal-borne diseases coming from the zoo. That is the first time in the world, only in Manila ginawang vaccination center ang zoo (a zoo was turned into a vaccination center),” he further explained.
Lopez said that the city’s priority now should be the acquisition of medicines instead of infrastructure development.
Vice Mayor Lacuna-Pangan countered Lopez statement, saying that the Manila Zoo vaccination site is safe and that its opening was backed by research.
“Hindi naman po ‘yan gagawin vaccination site kung hindi po safe. Ang mga nagbabakuna po doon puro doktor. Pinag-aralan muna po ]yan (We wouldn’t have opened the vaccination site if it wasn’t safe. Doctors are overseeing the site and we researched about it first),” Lacuna-Pangan said.
Manila Zoo, a project of the late Manila Mayor Arsenio H. Lacson, was opened as a vaccination site last Wednesday, Jan. 19.
Earlier this month, Manila Zoo reopened to the public after nearly three years of closure for supposedly polluting Manila Bay.
If he wins, Lopez vows he will “empower” fish vendors in Tondo district by changing the “outlook” toward them.
“One of the first things we will do is to enact ordinances to repeal fish vendors, na nakakagambala sila sa traffic at pedestrian. Siguro it is about time that we look at them as partners in city building, nation building,” he said, adding that he would also build a fish market.
(One of the first things we will do is to enact ordinances to correct the view that fish vendors cause traffic problems. Perhaps it is about time that we look at them as partners in city-buidling, nation-building.)
He said he also plans to change zoning ordinances.