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Thursday, December 8, 2022

Delivering Stories of Progress

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UNCENSORED By Manuel L. Morató

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Residential areas being forced to be commercial

Since Quezon City was founded in October 12, 1939, the day the city’s foundation day; and the day the City Charter was signed, it was meant and patterned after Washington D.C., more for residential than a skyscraper city.  In like manner, Quezon City was neither meant to be Makati with tall commercial buildings, but more on the residential.  Even Makati has residential areas and a business district; and so did Manila (Ermita area), San Juan (Greenhills), and neighboring cities in Metro Manila.  Makati has Forbes Park, North Forbes, Dasmarinas Village, Urdaneta Village, San Lorenzo and other enclaves were highrise buildings are prohibited.  It is unfortunate Quezon City became a free for all.  Residential areas are being taken over by highrise buildings with “Special Permits” from the City Council.  Residential areas are now subjected to abuses.

Metro Manila was never meant to be New York, or some other cities in the world that became an asphalt jungle.  And if people are concerned about climate change, they have better focus on the highrise buildings that swallow the water supply and trees being sacrificed and other greeneries.  The purpose of well-planned cities require to have open spaces with trees in the middle of the city for the population to breathe fresh and clean air.  Bear in mind that Manila is below sea level and further reclamations in Manila Bay will further sink the City causing more heavy floods.

In my parents’ garden, the ancestral home was surrounded with huge trees that sheltered it and the neighbors as well from pollution.  All cities under the supervision of a good Urban Planner will see to it that highrise buildings are limited to commercial designated areas away from the residential areas.  The citizens are deserving to have livable areas for tranquility, peace and quiet, and most importantly, health conducive to retirement.

Quezon City was designed and planned by Architect Juan Arellano, Quezon and my father to be a livable city to live in.  There are areas designated for government offices where bigger buildings were allowed to be constructed, but up to five floors or less at the most such as what Madame Imelda Marcosʹ Heart Center, National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI), The Lung Center and others.  Four storey buildings are just about enough to house a hospital, government offices and other establishments.  More than that, and higher than that is pure greed and false “prestige.” 

New York City is in another situation.  Manhattan is an island free from earthquakes.  Walang earthquakes sa New York.  Building can go as high as they want but never forgetting New Jersey, White Plains and the like where residences abound.  Manila and our other islands are in the line of fire and earthquake belt.  The contractors and owners are simply out to make money no matter the dangerous structures they are building.

In our place here in Diliman, Quezon City, Kamuning was planned to be housing for the employees of the new city called Baryo Obrero – for the working class; and Sampaloc Avenue area now Morato Avenue for the executives of the new city, all houses built by the People’s Homesite, then government housing.

During the time of Mayor Santos Diaz or Mayor Amoranto yata, pinayagan maging commercial ang Morato Avenue, pero hanggang 4 to 5 floors lamang.  Kaya ang building ko hanggang 4th floor lang.  Tama lang sa akin at may fear of height ako; vertigo at takot sa earthquake.  Kasi I constructed this building during the time when Ruby Towers collapsed in Binondo because of a strong earthquake in 1969.  Nasa itaas ako sa 4th floor nong building ko at nakabantay sa mga construction workers when it happened before 12:00 noon time that day in 1969.  Sa takot, sinabi ko sa architect ko, stop na ako sa 4th floor.  Kaya wala dito sa aming lugar makikitang highrise.  ‘Yong sa ginibang ancestral home ng aking magulang na tinatayuan ng grupo ng Sta. Lucia Builder ng 21 storey building sa residential area, naipagiba ng aming bunsong kapatid na hindi naman sa kanya at sa aming anim na magkakapatid at isang malaking violation at wala kaming limang kapatid na namana at wala kaming binigay na consent.  Basta ibinenta na lang sa ibang tao at giniba ang magandang bahay na ancestral home ng aming pamilya.  Binigla kaming magkakapatid dito sa aming family compound for almost seventy years na kami nakatira.

Meron pang isa na 21 storey building sa kanto ng Morato Avenue at Scout Gandia St., malapit din sa amin.  We were told related daw ‘yong owner at bumili ng ancestral home namin.  Hindi daw ‘yong Dexter Co ang tunay na may-ari sabi ng mga taga neighborhood namin dito.  Isa lang daw ang may-ari ng building na itinatayo sa dating ancestral home namin at itong nasa kanto ng Scout Gandia Street.  It takes one to start the deluge of highrise building in the residential area here.  What a pity.  Traffic condition will worsen and parking as well; and lack of water supply will surely follow.

The sidestreets are too narrow to put up buildings in residential areas.  The streets have been converted into parking lots.  Really congested.  The Scout streets are narrow fit only for residential and cannot accommodate vehicles on two directions.  Two narrow lanes have become single lane because of cars park on both sides of the street.  One lane is left in the center. 

That proves further that our area is meant to be residential.  The underground parking of those buildings can only be occupied by the condo residents and offices, not for others who will be forced to park on the streets.  This is one neighborhood without a single public parking lot for the neighborhood restaurants; and clients of the many restaurants along the avenue.  Please observe and you will see what I am trying to inform the public and many of my readers.

* * * * *

ERRATUM: Please allow me to correct the title of my previous column last Tuesday wherein I used “Kontra Adiksyon” when it should be “KontrAdiksyon.”  It means practically the same, but I wish to respect the artistic creation of the Director or the writer of the script.  Sorry for the mistake.        

For comments and suggestions email at mlmorato@yahoo.com

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