‘The people deserve it’: Isko Moreno looks forward to Arroceros park’s re-opening
MANILA, Philippines — Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso is looking forward to the re-opening of the redeveloped Arroceros Urban Forest Park, considered as the capital city’s “last lung.”
“Eto yung dating tinatambayan ng mga tolongges, tambakan. Ang ganda na. Pwede ng pasyalan sa gabi, manligaw. Ang ganda oh. Tapos eto ‘yung mga ano… kahit sa gabi makakaikot ‘yung mga senior citizens at mga bata,” Moreno said while inspecting the progress of the work being done at the park.
The 2.2-hectare Arroceros Urban Forest Park has more than 3,000 trees of 61 varieties and 8,000 ornamental plants and is home to 10 bird species.
After undergoing construction for six months, the park now has fountains, elevated walkways, a coffee shop and play areas for children.
Moreno had a tour of the new forest park Wednesday evening along with Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna, Manila City Engineer Armand Andres and other Manila City Hall officials.
Moreno has touted the new Arroceros Park as the Philippine capital’s version of New York’s Central Park. “Basta ikabubuti ng tao, maipagmamalaki ng Pilipino, gagawin natin… the people deserve it,” he said.
“We make sure that when we build, we build fast because time is of the essence, especially ngayong panahon ng pandemya,” said the 47-year-old local chief executive.
Moreno said he was very content with the progress of the work being done at the park as he toured the place.
He said the park will have amenities like play areas, kiosks, and public toilets. It will also have landscaping with an elevated path walk, a special lighting system, and water fountains.
Some of the pathways have rubber matting so that people will feel safer and more comfortable when strolling in the park.
Moreno also suggested the setting up of speakers where bird sounds can be heard so that people visiting the area will feel more relaxed.
Environmental groups, such as the Winner Foundation, were said to be also content with work being done inside the park.
The group previously expressed fears that touching the park, like building concrete pathways or walkways, will eventually kill the more than 3,000 trees in the area.
In a meeting in Manila City last November, Moreno assured the environmental groups that no trees will be cut and that the park will be protected during its refurbishment.
Aside from Winner Foundation, also present during the meeting were the Manila Doctors Hospital; Wild Bird Club of the Philippines; Pamanlahi; Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development; Earth Island Institute; Renacimiento Manila; and The Climate Reality Project Philippines.
Last February 2020, Moreno signed Ordinance No. 8607, officially declaring the park along Arroceros Street as a permanent forest park.
The Arroceros Forest Park is part of a series of construction and rehabilitation projects to create more tourist destinations in Manila under Mayor Isko Moreno’s administration.
Other projects of Moreno, who is the Aksyon Demoktratiko’s presidential bet, include the redevelopment and overhaul of the Manila Zoological and Botanical Garden and the renovation of the City Hall’s iconic clock tower.
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