MANILA — For Senate President Franklin Drilon, it’s not more fun in the Philippines when a tourist would see vendors and people lying along Roxas Boulevard, specifically between the United States embassy and Manila Yacht Club.
”Every time I passed through between the U.S. embassy and yacht club, Jesus Christ, a lot of vendors, I see a lot people lying around. It is unsightly,” Drilon said.
With this, the Senate leader urged the Department of Tourism (DOT) to address the problem which can affect the government’s effort to entice more tourists to visit the Philippines under the DOT’s marketing slogan ‘It’s more fun in the Philippines.’
”Can you do something about this, Mr. Secretary,” Drilon asked DOT chief Ramon Jimenez during the recent Senate public hearing on the proposed Php2.15-billion 2015 budget of DOT and its attached agencies.
Jimenez explained that making the boulevard more presentable to foreign and local tourists specifically coming from the airport remains difficult due to ‘nightmare jurisdiction’ of the 7-kilometer road.
”Roxas Boulevard is a nightmare of jurisdiction issue. It travels three cities — Manila, Pasay and Paranaque while the center island is being maintained by the MMDA (Metro Manila Development Authority),” Jimenez told the Senate sub-finance committee.
Despite the jurisdiction issue, Jimenez informed the committee that the DOT raised funds for the rehabilitation of the boulevard which runs along the shores of Manila Bay and known for its sunset and stretch of coconut trees.
Under the Revive Manila program, former Manila Mayor Lito Atienza made the Roxas Boulevard a tourist attraction by opening the Baywalk bar and restaurant belt along the area facing Manila Bay.
Atienza’s successor former Mayor Alfredo Lim removed the bar and restaurants and converted it into a park but its beauty and glitters quickly faded due to poor maintenance.
”It creates bad impression that we have so many poor people selling small things and lying around the bay area. There are different street lights depending on the area of jurisdiction. I hope you can do something about it,” Drilon said.
Jimenez said transferring the jurisdiction of the Roxas Boulevard to the National Park Development can help revive the beauty and prestige of the eight-lane road which is connected to coastal road going to Cavite.
”Unless you get the jurisdiction, it is very difficult. We can do it through legislation by amending the law that created the National Parks Development Committee,” Jimenez told Drilon.
Jimenez promised to prepare draft of the measure for possible transfer of jurisdiction of Roxas Boulevard.