Environmental and conservation group Earth Island Institute Philippines lauds Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno and City Councilors for the passing of Ordinance 8607 declaring the Arroceros Tree Park as a “Permanent Tree Park”.
“We welcome the move of the Manila City Council, especially Mayor Isko Moreno for signing the ordinance as well as 6th District Councilor Joel Par for sponsoring and prioritizing this ordinance. This is a great victory for all environmental groups that had been advocating for the protection of the last lung of Manila” said Mark Louie Aquino, Campaign officer of Earth Island Institute Philippines
Aquino said that the during the Ramos Administration, the Government and the Winner Foundation entered into a Memorandum of Agreement for the preservation of the 2.2-hectare (5.4-acre) Arroceros Forest Tree Park, home of different trees, plants and species of birds. In 2017, the MOA ended and the City government led by former Mayor Estrada has sought to build a Gymnasium to be used by nearby school Unibersidad de Manila. In 2018, different environmental advocacy groups (EII Philippines, Nilad, Green Rebellion, Manila Doctors Hospital – Corporate Social Responsibility and others) convened and organized the Save Arroceros Movement. A series of environmental awareness activities was launched to intensify the call to immediately halt the plans for the construction of the proposed gym. In 2019, the Save Arroceros Movement filed a draft Ordinance which was adopted by the office of Councilor Joel Par. This 3 March 2020, Mayor Isko Moreno signed the Ordinance.
“Though this is breakthrough to save the last green space of Manila, we urge Mayor Isko Moreno and other Metro Manila mayors to create more green spaces in their city not just to combat air pollution and reduce health risks, but to also address the effects of the Climate crisis,” Aquino added.
The group also said that they are gearing up to have victory program activity at the Arroceros Forest Tree Park for the upcoming Earth month this April 2020.