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May 17, 2007



And he's back!!! Yay!! The world is right again. Hehehe. :D


i wonder what that means, having as manila mayor a guy who may or may not take kindly to protests?


So is this good news or bad news for Arroceros Forest Park and the Winner Foundation? (What does Frayed think?)

I think it would only makes sense that Lim will return to the MOU that he signed with WF in the first place. So a gain for the friends of the park.

Unfortunately, with Lim's (non-existent) track record in urban revitalization, I doubt the rest of the city will fare any better.

What will happen to the Pandacan Oil Depot? Will Lim revise or suspend the new comprehensive plan (and new zoning code)? What about the revitalization of the Pasig river banks? Where does Lim stand on the redevelopment of Bilibid?


Bonjour Sparks -- nice of you to welcome me back after my prolonged period of laziness.

mlq -- Are you referring to the Mendiola massacre, or just to demonstrations in general? I suppose that, since they are are with the opposition, Lim and Binay will happily countenance anti-government protests. Don't you?

Urbano -- Nice to hear from you too after a long while. Those are all great questions and I doubt whether anyone, even Lim, has all the answers. On Arroceros, it will be good news, though who knows what damage has been done to the trees. I don't because Atienza locked everyone out of the park.

I attended a Lim interview at the Diamond Hotel. He didn't really talk much about urban renewal, except to describe his idea for Roxas Boulevard. First he wanted to build a seawall and then create a sort of swimming pool with white sand. At one end (presumably the US embassy end) would be McDonalds. At the other end would be Jollibee. In the middle would be Aristocrat.

That was it -- I have no idea what you will make of that (though I will say that the way he described it was as athough it was something in the past, I don't think he plans to implement it).

I think the Pandacan oil terminals will have to go. That would really open up the scope for some proper urban planning, but whether that will happen is anyone's guess.


Hi Urbano, the good news is yes, the park goes back to being a park. The bad news is the park was so badly destroyed by Atienza. A large building was built on one side (destroying 200 trees), but in the main bit where the forest was very dense, they have destroyed more trees to put a big cement shrine so now the canopy that once provided shade and protection is gone. Mayor Atienza closed the park to the public after criticizing WF for "keeping it to themselves". WF opened it in 2004 but the mayor had it padlocked and banned WF members from entering the park they created. Now it will definitely be open to the public. So yes, WF is happy to have it back, what little is left of it. I'm not sure what the new mayor will do with the current tenants.


Torn & Frayed, i'm also glad to hear from you again.



Well, at least the park will open again. Maybe with this battle behind them, the friends of the park and the Winner Foundation can set their sights on bigger things -like how about morphing into "Friends of the City?"

If you haven't already, you should take a look at what Enrique Penalosa did for Bogota.


As a Manileno in my past life, I don't like Lim either. I distinctly remember he did nothing to physically improve ManiLA during his term. These mayors seem to have no historical sense of Manila's importance.

Jon Limjap

Hi Torn, Frayed,

Long time no see.

As a student journalist I had a chance to question Lim on his spray-paint drive. It's funny how he described it: if dentists, doctors, lawyers and the like would put all their credentials on the wall, why don't the drugpushers put it on their wall as well? I found it funny at the time.

I hope that the beatification projects of Lito Atienza doesn't go to waste though... Lim may say that he's not going to remove them but he's not saying he will maintain/improve it either.

Hmm... I wonder what Carlos Celdran thinks of this.

Jon Limjap

Oops... I spoke to soon. Lim said that he will reopen Avenida to traffic:


As Carlos Celdran aptly put:

"One small step forward for the jeepneys and vendors and one large leap backwards for pedestrians and urban renewal."

from: http://celdrantours.blogspot.com/2007/05/food-for-thought


Hi Urbano -- Thanks for reminding us about Penalosa, our Colombian friend told us about what he had done for Bogota. Anyone who declares a "War on Cars" is OK by us. The only thing I would say about Bogota is that Penalosa had a lot more to work with than mayors of Manila. Supporters of Penalosa like to stress the negative aspects of Bogota before he took over(e.g. "Bogota had lost itself in slums, chaos, violence, and traffic." in http://thetyee.ca/Views/2006/06/23/Mayor/) but when I visited Bogota in the early 1990s that wasn't what I found at all. I was expecting a sort of Third World hell hole, but (in the centre of the city at least) I found elegant boulevards, historic buildings, and a feeling of space and lightness (I admit, the weather was beautiful).

Our Colombian friend says it is million times better now, so it really must be something.

I have a suggestion for you. Why don't you put some of your ideas for Manila on your blog and we'll try to get them to Lim? I wouldn't want to overemphasize WF's influence in the court of Lim (I am sure he is being beseiged by hundreds of people right now) but Winner has worked closely with him in the past and does have an entree. If your ideas are good, I think the Board of WF would try to promote them.

Alternatively, if you prefer, please e-mail your ideas to [email protected]


Bonjour Jon -- Nice to see you here again. I am all in favor of pedestrianization in the right place, but perhaps Lim is right with Avenida. The conflict between pedestrians and vehicles is a sensitive one and has to properly planned. Poorly judged pedestrianization just pisses people off and sets back the cause. If Atienza was serious about pedestrianization he had a wonderful opportunity with Malate in the halcyon days of 1998-2001. He missed it and the area has died.



Penalosa's big advantage was the metropolitan government of Bogota. So he didn't have to deal with the fractured jurisdictions most megacities are saddled with.

His biggest contribution to his city was the change in paradigm of what constitutes a "just and sustainable" city:

""The affluent person goes to a large house, with a garden, has access to restaurants, to country houses, country clubs, sports clubs and vacations. The poor person and his/her children have a small room, practically only room to sleep, and no alternative for their leisure time if there is no public space. Therefore, in a democracy, the first place that money should go is quality sidewalks, parks and pedestrian streets. I cannot give luxury housing to everyone, but i can give quality sidewalks to everyone."

You can look over Penalosa's recent (Jan 07) presentation (pdf 8.6mb) to the Philippine League of cities. (http://cdsea.org/kcollection/Bogota_Penalosa__.pdf)

I've posted a lot of ideas from other cities that we can learn from. Many of them would probably appeal to Lim's big-gesture-police-discipline heart. Like take this one from Shanghai that Mexico copied.


First thing you should get Lim to sign off on is to keep the urban planning team that Atienza assembled. (though I doubt if that would be politically feasible)

I'll certainly brush the dust off some my older posts and send them your way.

As for WF, beyond promoting urban intervention ideas, I think there is a crying need for someone/a group to begin calling for a citywide vision.



Jonjon, I know it's a matter of personal taste but I call it the "uglification" of Manila. All those tacky (opposite of quaint) lamp posts, most of which are now pundido..(too many bulbs in each lamp = impractical/difficult to maintain/high electricity cost). I wouldn't want Lim tearing everything Atienza did down - I doubt that he will. But I wouldn't mind seeing a real beautification project going. As Urbano mentioned, proper sidewalks (without vendors and cars on them) is basic. Hoping Manila turns into a decent city to walk around (and not just concentrate on one area for show like the Baywalk)


Forget the Baywalk. Forget the kitsch street lights. Lim should walk in a block from Roxas and check out the out-of-sight problems that Atienza never had time for. He should repair the wrecked sidewalks, fix the outdated drains that cause instant knee-high flooding whenever it rains, and chase out the hustlers, pickpockets and drug pushers who rule the streets. That way he will give the local residents a district they can be proud of and take care of.

But will he have the funds? Taking the images of Atienza off everything from billboards, overpasses and libraries, right down no doubt to school pencil cases, is going to cost a lot of money. For many people it will be a very satisfying process, but let's hope Lim doesn't simply replace Atienza's mug with his own.

john marzan

gosh. i'd rather see lacuna win over lim.

he's most well know for hunting down the drug pusher and users and closing down the prosti and gambling dens. pigilin ang mga rallies at protests.

that's his police mentality. that's his schtick.

but the guy has no vision.


Btw, Urbano, thanks for all that info on Penalosa etc. I checked out the website - so much there. Will do our best. Lim is a far cry from Penalosa and Lerner but hopefully we can get some info to him.

John, yes the guy might not have vision but he does have guts. The drug problem, as torn said is a real issue among the poor. A lot of kids' lives are ruined by drugs And prostitution and we do need someone to try to fix this. Also, I'm just happy the LA reign has ended. I live in Manila and had to endure seeing all his ugly billboards, giant flower posters stuck on every lamp post. Plus don't forget - if you did a lifestyle check on the past administration, I think they would be very worried.

And one of the best things to come out of this (I hope) is to lift the ban that LA imposed on the selling of contraceptives. Manila, one of the most overpopulated cities, was run by a man who thought the more children, the better. It's the only city in the Philippines where the distribution of condoms in health centers is done Under the table, like it's some kind of illegal drug! Agencies like USAID and foreign embassies have been trying to work to get this lifted.

The Phil. has an annual population increase of 2.4% and a population doubling time of 39 yrs - our natural habitat cannot possibly sustain that increase so even for that reason alone, I'm glad he's gone.


Glad to see you are back!
Alas I am not happy to see Lim back as Mayor of Manila.
I don't expect much good from him besides his usual ranting about drug pushers and prostitutes. I guess he will need to work on a bigger city jail!
I wondered why he was able to get back his old job. You are right in your analysis. Sayang!


Ah, the resurrection. :-)

Two words about Lim: Nemesio Prudente. The man was/is? tough on criminals and communists, apparently unable to distinguish between the two. Then again, Atienza was another thug. So where's the choice there?

In many ways, QC is fortunate to have someone like Sonny Belmonte.


I've attended a number of police-community interactions (not in Manila though) and about 85 percent of the complaints addressed to the cops were related to drug-dealing and drug abuse.


Haha, a hawaii parvenu, good one. You're right, it didn't do Ali any good to brand himself a clone of his father, so he should retire the flowery shirts. Maybe it also sickened more than a few to see the Atienzas put their names and faces everywhere.

When's that documentary coming out? What's the thesis?


Hi Cogs -- Frayed tells me that all those ridiculous "ManiLA" banners are down already, that's progress anyway.

Paul -- I agree the drug problem in Manila is massive (and apparently also in Pampanga -- see the comment on the Panlilio post above).

The damage caused by shabu is perhaps the only experience that all sectors of this divided city have in common.


Howie -- Too complicated to explain the "thesis" here! Will just have to save it until I bump into you. A trailer will be posted on YouTube soon -- I'll have a post on it when it is up there.

Rafael Resurreccion

Fred Lim will do what Manila needs to be done.


mayor lim hoping that you will clean the back of manila city hall there's a lot of guy that they are the one who will get you a taxi and they ask you to pay him and if you will not gave them money they will not let the taxi go...the previous manila mayor was doin project of "pagandahin ang manila" but deep inside marami paring bulok lalong lalo na sa likod ng manila city hall...kaya never na kami pumupunta sa SM Manila kc ang daming "kotong" kaming nakikita kahit dyan sa harap ng manila city hall

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