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Malacañang defends proposed catchment area in UST

  • Written by Efren Montano
  • Published in Nation
  • Read: 1560

THE Palace yesterday defended the government’s proposal to build a catchment area at the University of Santo Tomas.
   
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said public  safety during floods should prevail over the university’s concerns over its open field earlier declared as a historical landmark.
   
Lacierda said the government’s plan to build the UST catchment area is “scientifically well-founded and scientifically proven.”
   
“This is a situation where the interest and the safety of many should prevail over the concerns of, unfortunately, a university… Why is it difficult for us and for all the people involved to join and cooperate in building that catchment area?” Lacierda said.
   
President Benigno S. Aquino III mentioned in his final State of the Nation Address a certain university -- apparently referring to UST -- for supposedly standing in the way of the government’s execution of its flood control plan.
   
“Para matugunan ang madalas na pagbaha sa Maynila, isinulong natin ang pagpapagawa ng catchment area; pero tumutol po dito ang isang malaking unibersidad. May lumang gusali daw kasi silang baka maapektuhan,” Aquino said in his SONA.
   
Earlier, the UST administration opposed the construction of the catchment area under the university’s opening grounds, citing security concerns and possible disruption of school activities.
   
UST alumni also criticized Aquino for the plan, saying this will affect the university’s historical and cultural significance.
   
The UST open field, the site of the proposed water storage tank during heavy rains, was earlier named by the National Historical Commission as a national historical landmark.
   
However, Lacierdasaid the President only had public welfare in mind when he mentioned the plan to build the catchment area in UST in his SONA.
   
“Does it make sense for government to put a catchment area in a place where it is a given fact na kapag malakas ang ulan, binabaha ang area na ‘yun? Does it make sense for the President, as ama ng bayan, to protect citizens who traverse España?” Lacierda stressed.
   
“Is it too much to ask to put a catchment area and make sure that the lives of people who are there are protected? Is it too much to ask for the President to protect the welfare of Filipinos?” he added.