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Singaporeans eye wildlife park development

The Quezon City government and a group of Singaporean businessmen have offered to develop a portion of the 20-hectare Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center into a zoo or nature sanctuary.

The prospective investors along with city officials met Thursday with the chief of the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB), an attached agency of the environment department which manages the park.

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The parties, however, declined to give full details of the proposal. Regina Samson, communications chief of the Office of the Mayor, also withheld the name of the Singaporean group which she said made an “unsolicited proposal” to transform 3.5 hectares of the park into a nature sanctuary.

Samson denied speculations that the investors were planning to build an amusement park on prime government land. “This is a protected area. This is protected by a national law,” she said.

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“It depends on how much they want to develop,” Samson said when asked on the projected cost.

“We’re just going to listen to their proposal,” PAWB chief Mundita Lim told reporters before her meeting with the investors.

Any plan to develop the park “should be consistent with its natural beauty,” she said.

Lim explained that physical improvements in the park—especially those which would require cutting trees—were restricted by law because of its designation as a protected area right in the heart of the city.

The park administration also limits human activity in the park to protect the indigenous flora and the animals kept there. Though not considered a zoo, the park serves as a temporary shelter for confiscated, donated, or injured wild animals.

The NAPWC was declared a protected area in 2004 under Republic Act No. 7586 or the National Integrated Protected Area System (Nipas) Act.

Aside from its animal rescue center, the park also has a lagoon that doubles as a fishing grove.

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A popular and inexpensive recreation area for visitors from within or outside Metro Manila, the park receives an estimated 500 to 800 guests on weekdays, with the number reaching up to 2,000 on weekends.

Entrance fees are at a minimal P5 for students and P8 for nonstudents. Senior citizens and persons with disabilities enjoy free admission.

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