MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has dire predictions about the future of Metro Manila.
In a speech on Thursday, December 7, Duterte suggested "closing" Manila in a decade so that government can focus on developing other cities.
"Ten years from now, they should close Manila and start to develop this, this is the best. Something similar to Clark in other places – Batangas, Cavite," said Duterte to his mostly Pampangeño audience at the Kapampangan Food Festival.
He promoted decentralization, saying Manila is no longer conducive for factories, compared to cities like Clark.
In 25 years, the capital city would be "dead," the President predicted.
"Manila, I think will be, in about 25 years, will be a dead city. It will start to decay," he said.
Reminiscent of his manner of speaking about drug addicts, the President said, "You cannot rehabilitate the place, you have to, baklasin mo ang Maynila (break Manila apart) to do that."
He ranted against a government office supposed to help rehabilitate the Pasig River.
"You know, guys, you sit on the papers and you wait for – galit ako sa commission, gusto ko i-fire out eh (I'm mad at the commission, I want to fire them)," said Duterte.
He may have been referring to the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission.
Duterte accused them of not acting fast enough on a project to build a railroad bridge in Pandacan.
"They sat on the papers of the company supposed to build the railroad bridge in Pandacan...They said the process is difficult because they have plans. I said, what are you planning to do with Pasig?" said Duterte.
It is not clear if the incident happened during his presidency.
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.