Symbol of mindless investment

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 August, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 17 August, 1996, 12:00am

Steven Knipp's article headlined, 'Finding a cure for Manila' (South China Morning Post, August 15), on the Philippine building boom quotes a Filipino economist as saying that close to 100 new high-rises will 'grace' Makati and environs within five years.

It seems to me that instead of 'grace,' the word would more aptly be 'condemn', since none of the Filipino city planners seems to take into account that all these new buildings (as well as the homes around them) will need water.

Already there is a water shortage in many parts of Luzon, since aquifers and water-tables are close to being depleted.

The uncontrolled construction which Asians seem to think is what their already congested cities need is not only environmentally insane, it also spells disaster for those cities' inhabitants.

Like Bangkok, Manila is choking with pollution, thanks to its crowded living conditions, slums, traffic jams and wasted resources.

The 'glittering' new high-rises that will only benefit the elite few are, like the golf courses which waste precious water, another symbol of the mindless investment in so-called prestige projects that do not really help the majority of the people.

Manila will not be 'cured' unless people realise that environmentally sound policies need to be implemented if Filipinos are to lead healthy and productive lives.