20 August 2013

Mali to Subic and back

HOLLYWOOD actress Pam Anderson, Paul McCartney and even Mayor Joseph Estrada cannot deny Mali a permanent home in the capital, said Manila C­ouncilor Don Juan Bagatsing.

While moving the pachyderm to a second country is discounted, he said no final deal has been made either to have the mammal transferred to Subic Freeport.

But Bagatsing, tourism committee chairman, said his sponsored resolution has been unanimously passed on “an ironclad public assurance” that the 39-year old elephant, should be returned safely to Manila Zoo immediately after its rehabilitation and modernization.

“Manila should take all necessary actions to ensure the elephant’s proper transport to the Subic facility, her suitable integration and assimilation unto new surroundings, and, more significantly, her definitive homecoming, back to her newly enhanced home in a much better Manila Zoo,” he said.

“We support, wholeheartedly, our President-Mayor’s recent pronouncements on Mali, especially in rejecting calls demanding for her lifelong relocation to a foreign habitat abroad,” he said.

“Nothing yet is set-in-stone as there remains much to be threshed and

fine-tuned on the supposed arrangement with the Subic-based park.”

Bagatsing said the city council has been left in the dark.

“No one from the Zoomanity-Zoobic Group has briefed the City Council, as well as the local Public Recreations Bureau,” Bagatsing wondered.

Zoobic Safari president Albert Yupangco asked city hall to allow his company to have Mali in its 50-hectare theme park in Subic Bay freeport.

Yupangco said the park was suitable to the elephant brought into the county at age three in 1977 from Sri Lanka as a gift to then First Lady and now Rep. Imelda Romualdez Marcos.

At the time, Bagatsing’s father, the late Mayor Ramon Bagatsing, sheltered the country’s only elephant, Vishwa Maali, her full name, at the city zoo.

“Amidst ruthless badgering of hard-line animal groups with super-celebrities, the Mayor of the City of Manila, His Excellency Joseph Ejercito Estrada, repeatedly has stood firm to keep the elephant permanently in the Manila Zoo,” Bagatsing said. (Macon Ramos-Araneta, Manila Standard Today)