Help us save the Last Forest Park of Manila: Arroceros Forest Park
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To you who care about the environment:
The Arroceros Forest Park or the "Last Lung of Manila" is uniquely the last remaining forest park in the capital city of the Philippines. Strategically located in the heart of Manila beside the equally historical Metropolitan Theater, many have attempted to transform this to a commercial space threatening both its environmental and health benefits for the city. Through the efforts of Winner Foundation, Arroceros was given a new life in 1994 and in 2014, Manila Doctors Hospital, as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility, partnered with Winner Foundation and other companies to revitalize and ensure its continuous existence for the next generation. However, the park is now being threatened including its biodiversity due to the plan of the local government to put up a gym inside. This will again result into the cutting of trees similar to what happened when the office of Division of City Schools was constructed inside the forest park.
We are here to fight for the preservation of this unparalleled treasure because of the following reasons:
- Ecological Benefits - According to a study conducted on the ecological benefits of the park, this 2.2 hectare land is home to a total of 152 species of plants, the most abundant of which are Narra and Molave - both species identified to fall under the category of Vulnerable and Endangered species respectively (Mamitag, 2016). Not to mention the 6 varied bird species sighted to be inhabiting the area. The forest also breathes enough oxygen to sustain an ecology for fireflies (alitaptap) to thrive in, a rarity in highly urbanized area such as Manila.
- Value to Health - It is likewise important to highlight the crucial value of the park to the health of the citizens of Manila. According to the Air Quality Data provided by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Manila's air quality index is already at 81, which means it is 20 points away from reaching the "Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups" level. This means that when the air quality index of Manila reaches 101, the air we breathe will be detrimental to active children, adults, and those who have respiratory diseases.
- Cultural Heritage - The land where Arroceros sits is rich in historic and cultural heritage. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Arroceros was part of a Parian: a trading post for rice merchants and a Chinese settlement. When the 19th century arrived, the area was turned into a tobacco factory called Fabrica de Arroceros/Tabacos and was utilized as a US military post in the turn of the early 20th century. After World War II, it became the headquarters of the Ministry of Education. As if to prove the richness of the history of this place, shards of artifacts from the Ming Dynasty were found during one of the excavation activities in the area.
An indication of a progressive city is not based solely on infrastructural developments but its commitment to the preservation and creation of clean and green spaces in the area, specially when all available data point to the incomparable significance of an already-existing green space.
Saving the Last Forest Park of Manila equates to saving Manila and the future generations to come.
Today: Manila Doctors Hospital is counting on you
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