Malacañang on Wednesday urged the University of Santo Tomas (UST) to put public safety above its concerns over a flood control project proposed by the government.
Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the proposed flood catchment project that will be constructed under UST’s Open Field aims to ensure the safety of citizens traversing the frequently flooded España Boulevard.
“Is it too much to ask to put a catchment area and make sure that the lives of all these people who are there are protected? Is it too much to ask from the president to protect the welfare of the Filipino people?” Lacierda said in a press conference.
“So this is a situation where the interest, the safety of the many should prevail over the concerns of, for instance, unfortunately, a university. And I think you should look at it from that perspective,” he added.
UST students criticized President Benigno Aquino 3rd for taking potshots at the Catholic university in his last State of the Nation Address on Monday.
In his speech, Aquino hit a “big university” for supposedly standing in the way of the government’s execution of its flood control plan.
The Varsitarian, UST’s official student publication, reported that students hit back at Aquino for disregarding the cultural heritage of their centuries-old university.
In another report, the Varsitarian said the UST Open Field was declared a “National Cultural Treasure” in 2010 as it hosted historic gatherings in the Philippines including four papal visits.
But Lacierda insisted that the proposed project is “scientifically well-founded,” citing the flood catchment built underneath the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.
“Given that the solution is scientifically well founded, technically proven, why does it not make sense for us or for all those people involved there to join and cooperate with government in building that catchment area?” he said.