FORMER Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Bayani Fernando is disappointed at the plan of the new agency chair to replace his signature pink color with green as part of the "Metro Green" project.

"Ako'y nanghihinayang dahil sa ang kulay pink ay nagkaroon na ng kahulugan sa atin. Nagkaroon na ng karakter ang Metro Manila at nakilala tayo dahil sa buong mundo tayo lang ang may kulay na ganito," Fernando said.

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It will be recalled that under his watch, signs, steel fences, urinals and even part of the agency's main office in Guadalupe, Makati were all painted pink evoking laughter and criticism even from lawmakers.

Fernando, who resigned from the MMDA late last year after he decided to run as vice president in the 2010 elections with Senator Richard Gordon, defended his decision then to use the pink color, saying that it symbolized the pink of health and make an otherwise drab environment enticing to the eyes.

He also said there is no prohibition on the use of the color for road structures, even under the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals of which the country is a signatory.

"Wala akong nalalaman na sinasabi sa Vienna Convention na bawal ang kulay pink, siguro sa mga traffic signs pero hindi sa ibang structures. Baka di sila nakapagbasa ng libro," he told his critics.

A group of left-leaning lawmakers last year filed a resolution at the House of Representatives urging for an investigation into Fernando's use of the pink color for road signs and structures, which they argued not only mar the landscape but also violate local and international safety regulations, especially the Vienna Convention in which the country is a signatory.

The convention, they added, specifies white, yellow, red, black, blue, green, orange and gray as internationally accepted colors for road signs, road markings and traffic lights.

Fernando said pink was not even his favorite color and that his decision to use it came after the World Health Organization (WHO) designated Marikina, of which he served as mayor for three consecutive terms, as outstanding healthy city.

But the former MMDA chief said he is not inclined to do battle with his former colleagues, including the new chairman, Oscar Inocentes, over the plan to turn the metropolis from pink into green.

"Di ko ipaglalaban yun dahil di ko na panahon ito sa MMDA. ANg sa akin lang sana ay magtira sila kahit kunti para may maaalala naman ang mga tao sa akin," he said.

At the same time, he stressed that replacing all the pink colors with green is expensive. "Medyo magastos talaga kaya siguro maganda hintayin na lang nila na kumupas ito."

The MMDA said the Metro Green project will also includes planting of trees and other ornamental plants.

The agency has invited horticulturists, tree doctors, foresters and agriculturists and even non-government organization to help it in the new project. (AH/Sunnex)