Many Filipinos have expressed opposition to a residential building project in Manila which they claim would destroy the view of the monument of the country’s national hero, Jose Rizal.
Rizal was a writer and doctor who was martyred for espousing reforms when the Philippines was still under Spanish rule in the late 1800s. His life and writings have inspired subsequent generations to show more love to the country and pride in being a Filipino. Rizal was declared a national hero and his statue can be found in numerous parks across the country. But his most famous monument is in Luneta Park in Manila.
Rizal’s followers and even ordinary Filipinos are up in arms over the condominium project of DMCI, a major realty corporation, which is located at the back of Luneta Park. According to critics, the 49-storey DMCI Torre de Manila will be a photobombing eyesore for tourists and residents who wanted to take a photograph of Rizal’s monument.
Aside from lobbying with local officials, opponents of the project are also asking the public to support the campaign to stop the construction of the condominium, which they already called Terror de Manila instead of Torre de Manila. Using the Twitter hashtag #NoToTerrorDeManila, users have posted photographic proof of the tower's unwelcome presence behind Rizal's monument:
— Knights of Rizal (@kor_ihq) August 27, 2014
— Janssen Cabrera (@jansjens) August 27, 2014
The DMCI has claimed that some of the photos have been photoshopped. It released photos to show that the Rizal monument can be photographed without including the condominium in the frame. It advised the public to shoot the monument at a certain angle if they do not want to see the tower in their photos.
Senator Pia Cayetano, who has been opposing the project, accused DMCI of insulting Filipinos:
It now wants all Filipinos, foreign tourists, dignitaries and practically coming generations from here on to adopt its preferred ‘view’ of the Rizal Monument, which until late last year, has stood there, proud and unchallenged for 100 years. How convenient!
Activist Sarah Katrina Maramag wrote that the Torre de Manila issue highlighted some of the problems caused by unbridled development in the city:
The Torre de Manila is not the first and it will not be the last. We live in a period when tourism is “more fun in the Philippines”. When devastation has become a smokescreen for profitable investments in the name of rehabilitation and reconstruction. When lives and livelihoods are demolished with impunity to give way to giant shopping malls and commercial complexes.
In response to the appeal to stop the construction of the building, DMCI reiterated that it has obtained all the necessary papers and permits from the city government to continue with the project.
In the meantime, more and more Filipinos are taking selfie photos with Rizal before the Torre de Manila becomes a permanent photobomb near the monument.