Pinoys shouldn’t complain over the government’s controversial facelift of the Manila Bay because it made the area so much prettier now, pro-Duterte actress Mariel Rodriguez said over the weekend.
Yeah, why should you?
Rodriguez’s comments appeared on social media on Sunday after critics called out her husband Robin Padilla’s Instagram post, where the latter expressed support for the multi-million makeover, which required crushed dolomite to be dumped on the bay’s shoreline.
Padilla’s post included a video that showed Manila Bay’s transformation: its “before” appearance when trash was dumped on its shores to its present “white sand,” Boracay-inspired look. The video, however, did not show the hundreds of Filipinos who mobbed the area over the weekend despite the threat of COVID-19, leading to the sacking of a police commander.
“When it was full of garbage no one complained and now that it was made beautiful…[C]an you believe it? Now they are complaining? What I don’t understand is why we’re always looking for where our paid taxes go…[T]here it is…at least now we’re seeing it right? And still [you want to] complain?”
A vocal supporter of the president, her husband said that the “efficiency” of the government “is admirable” and that he prefers to see white sand on Manila Bay than heaps of garbage, which he said was more harmful to the environment and to people’s health.
“Let’s not deprive our countrymen who don’t have the means to experience Boracay, access to Manila Bay. Free relaxation and family bonding is (sic) mental, emotional and physical therapy. Every Filipino deserves a swim, a sunrise and sunset by the beach,” Padilla said.
The PHP397-million (US$8 million) plan to rehabilitate the notoriously polluted area has drawn flak from many environmental groups who complained that the synthetic sand is a waste of taxpayers’ money and threatens marine life. Pinoys have used the hashtag #ManilaBayChallenge to ridicule the urban beach project when it was briefly opened to the public over the weekend.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque had earlier attempted to downplay public fury, saying that the bay should help with the “mental health” of Filipinos.
Meanwhile Padilla, a staunch supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte is no stranger to standing up to critics of the president on his behalf. Earlier this year, he picked a digital fight with Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla after the latter said the Duterte government had overlooked middle-class families in the coronavirus relief. Two years back, he threatened to conduct a citizen’s arrest against one of Duterte’s biggest enemies, former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV. Padilla has also downplayed public fury over a Philippine boat that sank when it was rammed by a Chinese vessel, saying angry Filipinos shouldn’t blame the government and instead go fight the Chinese themselves.
Never mind that he offered to be Duterte’s campaign manager in the 2016 election, the president last month appointed Padilla — an actor — as Philippine Army Communications Chief, an appointment which infuriated many.
This article, ‘Why complain?’: Actress Mariel Rodriguez says Pinoys should value Manila Bay makeover, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.