Lopez eyes UP Arboretum dev’t
Environment Secretary Gina Lopez has expressed plans to turn the University of the Philippines (UP) Arboretum in Diliman, Quezon City, into an “ecological paradise.”
The 17-hectare man-made forest area along Central Avenue is also currently home to several informal settlers, who Lopez is also eyeing as “partners” in livelihood projects.
“I want an ecological paradise here where there is renewable energy, good septage, medicinal plants; where people from all over the country, the world even, can converge. You can make some money, the community makes money. That’s the way they get out of poverty,” Lopez said, during the launch of the nationwide tree-planting project of the Far Eastern University Nicanor Reyes Medical Foundation Beta Sigma Fraternity Alumni Association Inc. (FEU-NRMFBSFAAI) held in the Arboretum on Wednesday.
For the UP Arboretum, Lopez is looking at agroforestry as a possible community enterprise, as well as the production of fertilizers and medicines.
Lopez said the UP Arboretum could also be a learning ground for the community, the students and even the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
Lopez also discussed with UP vice chancellor for community affairs Prof. Nestor T. Castro her intention to meet the heads of the UP Colleges of Architecture, Sociology, Psychology, Community Development, Forestry and Medicine to explore how the academe could be part of the plan for the area.
“We include the people and if the people’s lives here do not improve, consider the model a failure,” Lopez said.
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