FORMER President and incoming Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada defended “Inferno” author Dan Brown, who is facing numerous criticisms from Filipinos who felt slighted by his description of Manila as a
“Gate of Hell.”
Estrada told radio station dzMM that he found the part of the book to be partly true.
He especially mentioned Brown’s fictional descriptions of Manila as a city plagued by mammoth traffic jams and overpopulation.
Estrada said that based on a study conducted by the University of the Philippines (UP), there is a semblance of truth to the things written by Brown.
“That is the very reason why I ran for mayor because I was born in Tondo, Manila. Maybe somewhat totoo yung sinasabi ni [Dan Brown] because yung sinubmit sa akin ng UP, yung study nila Manila has the highest level of poverty incidence. Maraming mahirap sa Maynila. Pinakamaraming jobless dito sa Maynila. It is overpopulated, the density is second to Bangladesh. It is the second densest city in the world,” he told radio dzMM.
He said Manila’s peace and order situation is worsening, and many policemen are not getting their allowances.
Estrada also criticized the burgeoning debt problem of the city. “Manila is really going to hell. That’s true,” he added.
In Brown’s “Inferno”, one of the characters goes through “the gates of hell” in Manila. The city was also described as having “six-hour traffic jams,” “suffocating pollution” and a “horrifying sex trade.”
Estrada said his first priority is to raise funds by checking on Manila’s existing properties and taxation system.
He said he wants to beef up Manila’s housing program to help informal settlers.