MMDA fumes at “Gates of Hell” depiction

By Mike Frialde

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino yesterday joined the bandwagon of critics slamming Dan Brown for his latest novel “Inferno,” in which the author describes Manila as the “gates of hell.”

Tolentino said he wrote Brown a letter telling him that his description of Manila was “inaccurate.”

“We write to you with much concern regarding your recently published novel ‘Inferno’ and its mention of Manila being defined by a number of terrible descriptions of poverty and pollution, among others, having ‘suffocating pollution, and a horrifying sex trade’ and worse, being alluded to as ‘gates of hell’,” Tolentino said in his letter.

“While we are aware that yours is a work of fiction, we are greatly disappointed by your inaccurate portrayal of our beloved metropolis. We are displeased with how you have used Manila as a venue and source of a character’s breakdown and trauma, much more her disillusionment in humanity,” Tolentino added.

Tolentino defended Metro Manila as a “center of Filipino spirit, faith and hope.”

“Our faith in God binds us as a nation and we believe that Manila citizens are more than capable of exemplifying good character and compassion towards each other, something that your novel has failed to acknowledge. Truly, our place is an entry to heaven,” Tolentino said.

Tolentino invited the bestselling author to visit Manila.