Pilgrims trashed Rizal Park – NPDC
Aie Balagtas See (The Philippine Star) - January 22, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The pilgrims who attended Pope Francis’ mass last Sunday damaged about 30 percent of Rizal Park, the National Parks Development Committee (NPDC) revealed yesterday.

The most damaged part of the park was the area surrounding the Rizal monument, considered a national shrine. It is the closest to the Quirino Grandstand, where the mass that drew six million attendees was held.

NPDC chief Estrelita Laraya said the shrine was full of muddy footprints while the plants surrounding it were either uprooted or flattened.

“The only thing good about this is no one stole anything. The people were simply on pilgrimage,” Laraya told The STAR.

Seven sprinklers around the monument were also damaged and would need replacing.

The park will remain closed until authorities deem it clean and again ready for the public, she said.

Aside from the plants, about 10 gates were damaged and several inner parks, which were purposefully locked, were forced open. Some gates were broken, while some had missing locks. The grills were also bent and the nets protecting the plants were torn down.

Laraya said they thought the public would spare the area protected by nets “but we can do nothing about it now.”

The NPDC has yet to come up with the total amount of damages incurred. Laraya said they might release the figure on Friday.

DAMAGED ESTRELITA LARAYA LARAYA NATIONAL PARKS DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE NPDC PARK POPE FRANCIS QUIRINO GRANDSTAND RIZAL RIZAL PARK
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