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Netizens slam P7.8-M flagpole project in Luneta

MANILA, Philippines - After the mass protest at the Rizal Park (Luneta) on Monday against the pork barrel and corruption, netizens are now outraged by the P7.8 million flagpole project in the national landmark.

A photo on the Facebook page TAX Rebellion Pilipinas showing the construction details of the project have been making the rounds online, garnering nearly 7,000 shares in just more than 24 hours.

"Kakagaling pa lang ng karamihan sa Luneta, at ito mga kabayan ang napansin ng isa nating kababayan. Ano ang masasabi ninyo dito sa proyektong ito. Sulit ba ang pag-gagamitan ng halos P8 Million pesos natin hindi para kumpunihin dahil sira, ngunit nais lang nilang gawing mechanized ang flagpole," the Facebook post containing the photo said.

More than a thousand netizens have commented, with some venting their rage against the seemingly pricey project.

Architect Jinky Oliveros said there should be a breakdown of the project cost.

"I am an architect...overpricing na kapresyo ng isang bahay...pwede na mag-renovate ng schools sa mga poor areas...nakakainis ang laki nyan..hindi makatotohanan, dapat may breakdown ang estimate nyan..." Oliveros said in a Facebook comment.

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According to a previous Philippine Star article, National Parks and Development Committee (NPDC) spokesperson Kenneth Montegrande said the 105-foot (32-meter) flagpole in front of the Rizal monument will be replaced by one that measures 150 feet (45 meters) before December 30.

Related story: Rizal Park to get longer, mechanized flagpole

The Philippine flag will also no longer be manually raised as the flagpole will be mechanized.

“Raising the flag would become mechanized because it would be strenuous for humans to bring the flag to the top because they would have to deal with the strong wind at that height, at 150 feet,” the report quoted Montegrande as saying.

Made in China

The report also said that the flagpole itself will be imported from China.

Some netizens are also disappointed that the flagpole will come from the Asian giant, which is currently locked in a territorial dispute with the Philippines.

"At ang pinakamasaklap dito, ang pinakamalaking insulto dito, manggagaling at bibilhin ang flagpole sa CHINA!!!," the Facebook page TAX Rebellion Pilipinas said.

"This make me sick.. wla n me msabi..sang ayon me sa lhat ng sinsabi nyo.. kawawa tyong mga Pilipino!. At sa CHina pa na binu bully na nga tyo!" Facebook user Dangz Allanza Docot said in a comment.

"Kung ibida ang galing ng Pinoy sa buong mundo... Tapos itong simplemg flag pole di magawa ng pinoy? Sa China pa kukunin?" said Julius Arroyo.

In a radio interview on Wednesday, DPWH National Capital Region Director Reynaldo Tagudando clarified that the project went through public bidding and was not overpriced.

"Base ho 'yan sa aming canvass kaya okay lang po ang presyo niyan," he told radio dzMM.

He assured that the agency will show all documents related to the project.

DPWH South Manila District Engineer Mike Macud had said that it is time to replace the 15-year-old pole standing at the historic Rizal Park in Manila.

"Inorder pa nila sa China yung flagpole. 'Yung almost P4 million kasama dito yung removal of existing pole, reinforcing of steel bars, concrete works, carpentry works, tile works. Meron din po tayong construction safety and health," Macud explained in a previous report.

Meanwhile, cultural activist and now Manila tourism czar Carlos Celdran said he is not joining the public outcry against the flagpole project since there seems to be no irregularity.

"Sorry. I'm not joining the protest against the flagpole. The price was above board and posted for the whole public to see. Nothing backroom and sneaky there so far as I can see," Celdran said in his Facebook page.

"The Luneta team are stellar people and I would NEVER accuse any of them of wasting our tax money. Fixing our national heritage isn't cheap and should never be done on the cheap. I'm moving on from this topic. Thanks for trying to get me involved. But no thanks," he added.

'Flagpole with wi-fi'

Some netizens who critized the project were even sarcastic in theorizing why the flagpole is worth P7.8 million.

"Flag pole??ano yan digital?touch screen?" said Facebook user Uel Eastchoco.

"May kasama pong libreng wifi yang flag pole na yan kaya medyo mahal. Para din sa mga mamamasyal sa Luneta, para makapag instagram din. Para sa ito sa ikabubuti ng mga namamasyal," Justine Torgo commented.

"bka kaya ganyan ka mahal pagtinaas flag naten kita ng mga taga north pole...." said Magallenes Eman Ryan.

"Mabuti na nga siguro may mechanized flagpole na tayo sa luneta. Pagdating ng panahon, dyan natin sila bibitayin," Facundo Roco said.

"baka gusto na rin nila palitan pangalan. Luneta PORk," Edel Berto said in a Facebook comment.netizens have commented, with some venting their rage against the seemingly pricey project. with Camille Diola

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