Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso has signed an ordinance to declare Arroceros Park, dubbed as the last lung of Manila, as a “permanent forest park.”
Domagoso signed Ordinance No. 8607 on Tuesday, declaring the piece of land along Arroceros Street, formerly known as “DECS property,” as a permanent forest park.
The Manila Public Information Office (PIO), in a statement, noted that Domagoso had said the local government will allocate P1 million for the park’s operations.
“The use and enjoyment of the Arroceros Forest Park must be consistent with the principles of sustainable development and the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology,” the ordinance read.
Under the ordinance, cutting trees, dumping waste products and any form of excavation within the area of the forest park are prohibited.
Violators will be fined P2,500 on first offense, P3,500 on their second offense, and P5,000 and/or imprisonment not exceeding one year depending on the court’s discretion for their third offense.
The riverside park near the Manila City Hall is home to some 3,000 species of birds and trees.
The park was developed in 1993 but was closed to the public after portions of the area were occupied by informal settlers and gangsters.
It also used to house an office of the then Department of Education, Culture, and Sports (DECS), now known as the Department of Education (DepEd).
The transformation of the park was one of Domagoso’s campaign promises.
“Let’s turn Manila into a green city,” he said.
After winning the mayoral election in 2019, Domagoso vowed to preserve and improve recreational areas like zoos and parks in Manila after some properties were rumored to be for sale./Stacy Ang