Saving Arroceros Forest Park

Manila City government is planning to destroy its last park.

We might soon lose the Arroceros Forest Park, also known as the “last lung” of Manila, as the local government plans to transform this green respite into a commercial space. Again.

“Arroceros Forest Park is under threat again (nasty developers),” bewailed Chiqui Mabanta, entrepreneur and president of environmental group Winner Foundation on a Facebook post.

Arroceros is the last remaining forest park in the capital city of the Philippines. It’s the home to 61 different tree varieties, 8,000 ornamental plants, and 10 different bird species. And it seems like we’re funding the killing of the provider of fresh air to the overcrowded concrete jungle and securing our ranking on the most polluted cities in the world (we’re 17th out of 269 cities surveyed).

Aside from its lush greenery, it also carries historical and archaeological value. It became a trading post in the 16th and 17th centuries, where Filipino dealers bartered with Malay and Chinese traders. It was also the site of the historic Fabrica de Tabacos in the 19th century and a military barracks during the American era. This 2.2-hectare park beside the Metropolitan Theater and its biodiversity has been through a lot. Around 10 months ago, the city government dumped impounded vehicles there. They also had a plan to put up a gymnasium there.

Now, Mabanta is looking for people — registered voters from the City of Manila in particular — to sign a petition to create an ordinance protecting Arroceros with them. It is pursuant to Republic Act No. 5752 or the Local Autonomy Act, which mandates cities to “exert efforts to establish, develop and maintain a permanent forest, tree parks or watershed within public land owned by such municipality or city.”

“[We’re] hoping for 1,000 signatures to bring it up to the city level (50 signatures only take this to barangay level),” she wrote.

Help us in preserving this forest park. Sign the petition HERE.

Read the complete article HERE.