Church group lauds declaration of Arroceros as ‘permanent forest park’

Church group lauds declaration of Arroceros as ‘permanent forest park’

The city government of Manila has declared Arroceros Park as a “permanent forest park”. FILE PHOTO

By CBCP News

March 5, 2020

Manila, Philippines

A faith-based social development network has lauded a move to protect the so-called “last lung” of Manila City.

The Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. said the declaration of the area along Arroceros Street as a “permanent forest park” will benefit first and foremost, the city’s people.

“But more than the benefits for people and humankind, this is a victory for mother earth,” read the PMPI statement.

“Preserving the Arroceros Park will save various species of plants, trees and sentient animals living on it,” it said.

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno on Feb. 27 signed an ordinance that bans the cutting of trees, dumping of waste materials and any form of excavation within the park’s area.

The city would also allocate P1 million for the operation of the 2.2-hectare wide park, which is home to 3,000 trees and 8,000 ornamental plants.

The PMPI said the ordinance stalled the previous plan to construct a gym and turn the park into a commercial area.

“We need to protect the environment from the hands of greedy businessmen and corporations that only think of nature as a source of profit,” it added.

The group also considered the move as the second most recent victories to protect the environment by a local government.

Last year, Cebuanos moved to save the centuries-old Carcar Acaccia Trees against the planned road widening project of the government.

The PMPI said they are hoping for more and bolder moves of people standing for the environment.

“We look forward to a bandwagon of local governments adopting more resolutions and ordinances protecting nature,” it said.

The PMPI is among those at the forefront in the campaign for the passage of the “Rights of Nature” bill, which seeks stronger legal protection for the environment.

The group is an advocacy network of more than 250 faith-based groups and non-government organizations in partnership with Misereor, the social action arm of the German bishops.