Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Environmentalists takes to the internet to save City’s green spaces

DAVAO CITY- Environmentalists and concerned citizens have taken to the internet in a bid to save green spaces in Davao City which will be affected by the amendment to the Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP).

Last January 26, the City Council passed in the third and final reading an amendment to the CLUP which takes out the provision of a mandatory 10% green spaces imposed on housing developers. These spaces are earmarked specifically for parks and gardens.

The amendment incorporates the 10% green spaces to the 30% allocation for open spaces which is set for roads, drainage and common facilities.

The Green Davao Coalition, a group of different environment groups and concerned citizens have launched a signature drive which aims to gather 10,000 signatories to move for the veto of such amendment. The coalition has taken to the internet particularly the social media to reach to more signatories.

The petition which is posted in Change.org, a petition website has reach 220 signatories while a petition authored by Dabawenya science journalist and digital activist Julia Jasmine Sta.

Romana and posted at the Dakila website has about 394 signatures. Hard copy signatures have more than 1000 signatories.

Sta. Romana cited tangible benefits the city would derive from these green spaces. Trees planted in these spaces would contribute to cleaner air which means healthier people, these spaces also act as catch basins for rains and natural windbreakers. Parks also provides avenues of socialization for people and also green spaces help raise property values.

“Just this week it was announced that UNESCO has chosen Davao City to be the pilot site for sustainability science projects. And for the past few years Davao City has been experiencing the worst flooding and heat wave in decades. So it baffles my mind as to why the council decided to vote on cutting back on the creation of green spaces.” Sta. Romana wrote in her petition.

Meanwhile Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte in his statement said that the open spaces used in the real estate developments are not only for its clubhouses or open grounds but also are used for greening purposes as well.

“If we rub the enforcement of the additional 10%, it's cost will be absorbed by the future homeowners themselves.” The Vice Mayor said in his statement.

“The amendment to remove the additional 10% does not mean that the development no longer has green spaces. The association can devote the 20% of the existing 30% open space. I can assure all of you that this measure, as decided by the Council as a body, do not undermine environmental considerations as we all know that the City is replete with ordinances which protect the environment.” Duterte added.

However Sta. Romana said that sustainable development and environmental protection goes hand-in-hand. 

“If Vice-Mayor checked the presentation submitted by UNESCO, ALL their recommendations involved environmental ordinances. The reason we're pushing for these environmental ordinances to begin with is because they are essential to sustainability.” She said. (PIA/RG Alama)

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