No politics? MMDA paints Villar house green

No politics? MMDA paints Villar house green
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—Just green and bear it.

As far as the people at the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) are concerned, politics was farthest from their minds when their workers painted Sen. Manuel Villar’s house green.

MMDA General Manager Robert Nacianceno Sunday said that when their personnel did the paint job on Villar’s old house, they first secured the approval of homeowners and house caretakers in the area.

The old house stands on Moriones Street in Tondo, Manila.

“We asked for permission from caretakers and they agreed to our plan,” Nacianceno told the Inquirer on the phone. “In fact, it took us several days to complete the operation in the area.”

Part of urban renewal

The MMDA carried out the repainting job more than a year ago, well before the current election campaign began.

As luck would have it, green was what former Defense Secretary Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro Jr.—one of Villar’s rivals for the presidency—chose for campaign color.

Villar, standard-bearer of the Nacionalista Party, picked orange as his battle color.

The repainting of the Moriones house has angered Villar’s staff, caretaker Marilyn Bamba-Reyes said in an interview.

MMDA officials said that Moriones was part of the agency’s urban renewal program when its workers went to the area to repair and give houses there a new look.

Blue and pink

The MMDA also fixed the landscaping of the main road’s center island and put up lampposts to illuminate the area at night.

Nacianceno said a small stall that Villar’s caretaker had erected near the house had to be torn down because it obstructed the pedestrian sidewalk.

He also recalled seeing vagrants in the area, including teenagers sniffing solvent (an intoxicating, drug-like substance) and people living on wooden pushcarts.

Nacianceno, who oversaw the operation along with former MMDA Chair Bayani Fernando, said the agency applied to the houses in Moriones an array of colors, like blue and pink—which are associated with Fernando.

Later, Fernando’s successor, Oscar Inocentes, ordered that pedestrian walkways and other MMDA structures be repainted green, from their earlier blue-and-pink motif.

‘We are apolitical’

Nacianceno denied there was any political motives in the choice of colors.

“Political colors are not intended,” Nacianceno said. “Back then, the senator (Villar) wasn’t yet identified with the color orange, nor was Gibo [identified with green].”

Nacianceno stressed that the MMDA was apolitical as a government agency and said people should not interpret its operations as favoring any one in society, candidate or not.

“We don’t do political. It is not our duty to be political,” he said. “There is no political significance in the colors we use.”

Karen Ang

A plebeian who is trying to make small changes in this world.