Gov't defends multimillion-peso flagpole project

The flagpole in Luneta Park is more than just a flagpole, the government said, as it defended a multimillion-peso restoration project.

A Department of Tourism statement Thursday claimed that the P7.87 million project for the flagpole aims to “reassert its importance in Philippine history.”

The Independence Flagpole, DOT said, is where the Philippine flag was hoisted on July 4, 1946 to celebrate independence from the United States.

It is “located at its original site in Rizal Park—a major tourist attraction in the City of Manila and an important site in Philippine history,” DOT noted.

While designed to be 150 feet high, the flagpole was damaged by a 1995 typhoon and was never restored. It currently stands at 105 feet.

Restoring the flagpole entails strengthening its base’s structural integrity, DOT said.

The project will also include the installation of a mechanically assisted pulley and a “stately marble base.”

In an apparent response to claims that the project is overpriced, DOT said the restoration went through a public bidding and was found “reasonable.”

The amount covers costs for thje removal of structures, reinforcement of steel bar, concrete works, carpentry works, tile works, pole and casing.

It also includes expenses for construction safety and health, project billboards, construction site fence and field office construction.

The project is implemented by the Manila South Engineering District of the Department of Public Works and Highways.

It is expected to be completed in time for the 100th celebration of the National Monument of Jose Rizal on December 30, 2013.

The flagpole project drew flak soon after the so-called “Million People March” which saw hundreds of thousands gather in Luneta Park.

A photo of the project billboard, which shows the restoration’s cost, has been slammed amid public outrage over the alleged misuse of public funds.

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