MANILA, August 14, 2003 (STAR) By Nikko Dizon and Evelyn Macairan  - The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) cried foul yesterday over a report that at least five of the urinals it installed in Muntinlupa City have been vandalized allegedly by city hall employees.

"There should be total appreciation (by the local government units) of what we are doing. I mean, the urinals are not about politics. It is giving men the service that they need when they have to answer the call of nature," MMDA General Manager Robert Nacianceno told The STAR.

According to Nacianceno, five of the eight urinals the MMDA installed on the East Service Road at the South Luzon Tollway (SLT) were vandalized by a group, which according to witnesses, used a marked city hall vehicle.

The main pipe of the urinals were cut off, making them unusable. Urine flows through this main pipe, straight down to the sewerage.

Nacianceno said he had spoken with Muntinlupa Vice Mayor Jojay Alcaraz about the incident.

"The vice mayor said he was embarrassed that this happened. But at the same time, he told us that there were only three urinals that were vandalized. He also explained that perhaps the employees tried to remove the three urinals because the agreement was only five urinals would be installed," Nacianceno said.

Nacianceno added that he and Alcaraz agreed that they "would work things out" as soon as City Mayor Jaime Fresnedi comes back from abroad.

The MMDA installed urinals along EDSA and other main thoroughfares as a solution to the disgusting habit of Filipino men urinating against the wall.

The MMDA boasted that the project was a success, noting that many male motorists and pedestrians have been using the urinals.

But while many men literally felt relieved with the project, some noted that the urinals were beginning to stink.

Meanwhile, an official of the Muntinlupa City government denied they had anything to do with the vandalized public urinals .

Tez Valencia, Muntinlupa City public information officer, and the local police station said they did not receive such report. "I donít know about it. Please tell me the number on the vehicleís plates so we can check."

As to the possibility that government employees might have been using the government vehicles at night, she said the keys of government vehicles are kept in the radio room after work and cannot be used just by anybody.

Valencia said she doubted the city government of Muntinlupa was responsible for the said act, nor was it done upon the orders of Mayor Jaime Fresnedi. Fresnedi is currently out of the country.

"The mayor and MMDA Chairman Bayani Fernando have been close from the start and the mayor has shown his support to the Chairmanís project several times. At times, they even share the same opinion," said the PIO chief.

In fact, the local government had been active in the clearing squatters off the sidewalk streets. "In fact, Chairman Fernando had visited Muntinlupa eight times and sent teams to help in the clearing operations."

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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