PHILIPPINES: Rizal Park is not for sale.

“RIZAL Park is not for sale. RIZAL Park is for the people.” This is the statement of Defend Job Philippines in the midst of a looming privatization plan for Luneta Park.

On February 6, 2014, a Public consultation on the Master Planning of the Rizal Park Complex, Manila (Luneta Park) as a flagship Tourism Enterprise Zone was conducted and facilitated by BERKMAN International Inc. — a global service provider and consultancy firm.

Joel Miralpes of the Peoples Democratic Vendors and Hawkers Alliance-KADAMAY who attended the meeting said that the attendees talked about the plan for a tourism enterprise in the area such as the construction of establishments like grocery stores inside the park. The major agenda of the meeting involved big businesses and the looming privatization of Rizal Park.  In this development, not only are the vendors affected but the rights of everyone to the Park because it is a national, public and historical place.

“Rizal Park (also Luneta Park or colloquially Luneta; Filipino: Liwasang Rizal), is an historical urban park located along Roxas Boulevard, City of Manila, the Philippines, adjacent to the old walled city of Intramuros.  Since the Spanish Colonial Era, the Park has been a favourite leisure spot, and is frequented on Sundays and national holidays. It is one of the major tourist attractions of the City of Manila.” (Wikipedia)

Luneta Privatization is against the law. The 2000 Supreme Court decision stated that “Rizal Park is beyond the commerce of man and, thus, could not be the subject of a lease contract.” Yet, what the Philippine government is doing is privatizing the park in the hands of foreign and giant corporations. Right now, there have been already private companies doing business in the park both long term and short term such as 2GO, Ocean Park, Shell Eco Marathon, Wendys, Jollibee, Korean KSquared Foodbox and other various traders.

Defend Job Philippines also stressed that the Rizal park privatization is an integral part of the Manila Bay Reclamation and privatization of the BS Aquino government which plans to reclaim more than 26000 hectares of seawater and sell them to giant foreign companies with their local business partners such as Henry Sy, Ayala, Andrew Tan, George Ty and the Tieng family.  The project will affect more than 9 million people living along the coastlines of Manila Bay in terms of their right to work, livelihood, food, homes, education and other economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights,  impact on the  environment and make the area more vulnerability to the effects of climate change.

Defend Job Philippines also stressed that this program of the Philippine government runs counter to the constitution, national laws and to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.  Thus, Defend Job Philippines with the small Luneta Vendors through the People’s Democratic Hawkers and Vendors Alliance-KADAMAY call for a broad unity of Filipino families, park goers, students, church people, workers, professionals, artists, historians, environmentalists and other sectors  to oppose the continued and all out privatization of Rizal Park.

Document Type : Forwarded Statement
Document ID : AHRC-FST-015-2014
Countries : Philippines,
Issues : Environmental protection, Judicial system, Right to education, Right to food, Rule of law,