Para matutukan: Lito Atienza wants Manila LGU to manage Luneta

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By Billy Begas

Deputy Speaker and Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza wanted the Manila City government to assume control of the iconic 58-hectare Luneta Park to further improve its preservation and management.

Atienza filed House Bill 2594 putting the Manila City government in charge of the historical landmark.

Luneta is being supervised by the National Parks Development Committee (NPDC) under the Department of Tourism (DOT).

Atienza pointed out that highly developed city governments have already resumed supervision of national urban parks within their jurisdiction.

“The Quezon Memorial Circle, for instance, has since been returned to the Quezon City government, while Burnham Park has since reverted to the Baguio City government,” Atienza said.

Atienza is “absolutely convinced that progressive city governments are in the best position to look after national parks in their territories.”

He also pointed out that the city government is already spending for the public services needed for the park’s upkeep, “so we might as well give it back to the city for administration purposes.”

Luneta, also known as Rizal Park, was originally administered by the Manila City government until 1963 when President Diosdado Macapagal created the NPDC to oversee the development of inner-city national parks.

“The return of national parks to the cities where they belong will give more meaning to mandate of the 1987 Constitution for the State to advance local government autonomy,” Atienza noted. “The delegation of more powers and responsibilities to cities will also give more substance to the Local Government Code of 1991.”

Replete with historical value, Atienza described Luneta as a priceless national heritage.

The monument pays tribute to the December 30, 1896 public execution of the national hero Jose Rizal in Luneta, then known as Bagumbayan.

The flagpole marks the spot where the Philippine flag was hoisted on July 4, 1946, when independence was achieved from the United States.