Environment advocates and experts have expressed concern over Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso’s beautification efforts of the Arroceros Forest Park by saying his move might harm the area’s abundant biodiversity.
Mark Louie Aquino, campaign staff of Earth Island Institute, said Friday the group is not against the development efforts being undertaken by the local chief executive but it is just worried that “the blatant construction under the premise of aesthetics, as well as the placing of structures, is inappropriate for the environment and may have a negative impact on the area’s biodiversity.
“Conservation is more important to us than haphazard beautification,” Aquino added as he and other environment experts visited the park Friday, which is still under renovation.
Aquino also bared that the beautification efforts did not undergo a thorough stakeholder assessment and consultation.
The group has called on Domagoso to engage all stakeholders in a dialogue, implement the City Ordinance 8607 or the Arroceros Forest Park Ordinance and urgently release its Implementing Rules and
Regulations for the protection and preservation of Manila’s last remaining forest area.
The 2.2-hectare Arroceros Forest Park forest is known as the “Last Lung of Manila” because of its ability to absorb three tons of air particulates.It is also home to almost 3,000 indigenous and endangered tree species and is home to 20-30 resident and migratory bird species, as well as diverse flora and insects.