Ninoy Aquino park dev’t plan worries eco advocatesBy Kristine L. Alave
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Environmental groups are wary of the plan to develop the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center in Quezon City, saying it could harm the flora and fauna in one of Metro Manila’s last remaining urban forests.
Antony Arbias, president of the Philippine Native Plants Conservation Society Inc., which conducted a survey of the flora inside the park, said the 20-hectare park helps mitigate pollution in that part of the city.
He noted that infrastructure-oriented development in the area could “compromise” the trees, various plants, and wildlife inside the park.
“There is an ecological value to the Ninoy Aquino Park. The green parts of Metro Manila are all fragmented. This is one of the last big ones. We don’t want to compromise this. If we do, what is next? The La Mesa park?,” he said.
Kalikasan–People’s Network for Environment said preserving the park was important since it provides “ecological services that are needed, especially in an urbanized environment such as Quezon City.”
The group also raised fears that allowing a foreign company to develop the park could lead to higher entrance fees for visitors.
At present, the park charges an entrance fee of P5 for students and P8 for nonstudents. Senior citizens and persons with disabilities enjoy free admission.
But Arbias insisted that PNPCSI was not against the development of the park.
However, any plan should make sure that infrastructure development is minimal so as not to disrupt the flora and fauna in the park. Developers can make trail walks in the park and build thematic gardens that would showcase Philippine plants, he said.