Manila council slams Chinese-funded bridge

Ghio Ong - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Manila city council plans to conduct hearings on the construction of the North and South Harbor Bridge in Tondo after some councilors declared they were against it.

District 5 Councilors Mon Yupangco, Jaybee Hizon, Charry Ortega, Bobby Espiritu and Ricky Isip manifested in separate privilege speeches their rejection of the bridge, which would connect Barangays 20 and 649 or the Baseco Compound.

The bridge is seen to displace 1,292 families living in Baseco, according to Yupangco.

Hizon criticized the bridge, which he said was under the Build, Build, Build infrastructure program of the Duterte administration and funded by a loan from the Chinese government.

The real purpose of the bridge is not for the public but for trucking and shipping firms in Baseco and Road 10, Hizon alleged.

He also demanded that the Department of Public Works and Highways build the other end of the bridge on the lot owned by the agency in Baseco so the structure would not displace residents.

Espiritu said the bridge would land on a two-car lane in Baseco that would eventually become a “chokehold.” He added that the bridge could force the demolition of Hermenegildo Atienza Elementary School.

The councilors spoke up during a city council session on Thursday after holding a dialogue with Barangay 649 chairperson Diana Espinosa, members of a civic group in the community and with Manila Reps. Irwin Tieng and Ernix Dionisio. The officials of Barangay 649 previously declared their opposition to the bridge.

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