MANILA, Philippines – The legal dispute between the two mega-cities of Taguig and Makati over control of one of the country’s fast-growing central business districts has evolved into a banner war.
On Tuesday, September 3, Taguig city hall representatives started closely guarding key entry points from Makati to the disputed Bonifacio Global City (BGC).
“We are now here to guard our premises,” Nor Ordillo of Taguig’s public order and safety office (POSO) told Rappler. They were stationed near the fly-over that links Edsa, a main thoroughfare in the metro, to BGC via Kalayaan Ave, which is part of Makati.
Ordillo and 4 other POSO teammates wore “I Love Taguig” shirt. They guard the area 24/7 in a shifting schedule. They make sure no pro-Makati banners are put up.
Days before, Taguig’s civilian enforcers and the Makati police had a face-off when the former tried to take down a pro-Makati poster, according to an Inquirer report.
In the same area, “Welcome to BGC, Makati” banners used to dot the interchange after the Court of Appeals favored Makati in its decision on who should control BGC. But on Monday, September 2, the word “Makati” was taken out.
Also removed was the portion of the banner bearing the city’s tagline, “Make it happen, make it Makati,” which is part of a campaign launched by Ayala Land in partnership with the Makati City government. This P60-billion joint venture is aimed at transforming and revitalizing Makati City, which still reigns as host to the most number of corporate headquarters and a workplace of choice among office-bound workers.
By Tuesday, on the same spot as the torn banner, a vertical “I love Taguig” red tarpaulin was put on display, greeting motorists and those entering BGC by foot.
Within BGC, banners supporting Taguig display pink hearts. “I love Taguig,” they screamed.
“Lower taxes, No Number Coding, Better Public Service, Bawal ang Corrupt (No Corrupt Practices),” the pro-Taguig posters said, obviously twitting Makati.
These pro-Taguig posters and banners hung on lampposts in the Burgos Circle area, 32nd Street, among others.
Banners and other advertisements put up within BGC are approved by the Bonifacio Global City Estate Association (BGCEA), according to their subcontractor, Elevate Media.
Entities that want to place ad banners within BGC should first go to Elevate Media to submit requirements. BGCEA gives final decision on the content of the advertisement, but it does not control the banners that are government-related, according to Elevate Media.
Taguig gives the final greenlight to city-related banners, Ordillo stressed.
In a text message sent to Rappler, Makati City spokesperson Joey Salgado clarified that the pro-Makati posters were “not printed or approved by the city government.”
“The proper venue is in the courts, and not in lamp-post banners and stores. And the courts will listen to evidence, not emotional and self-serving claims,” Salgado said.
Taguig City Mayor Lani Cayetano on August 29 said they will exhaust all legal remedies to “assert ownership of Fort Bonifacio.” – with reports from Cecilia Cabiao/Rappler.com