Planting sites identified; surveyed 904 hectares suggested as Greenbelts

The City Environment and Parks Management Office (CEPMO) has recorded and inventoried lands in the city that can be declared as greenbelt areas. These areas have been identified as planting areas as mentioned in the Urban Management Plan of the city.

In his letter to the Sanggunian’s Legislative Monitoring and Evaluation Section, Atty. Rhenan Diwas (CEPM-Officer) indicated a total of 904.4062 hectares within the territorial boundaries of the city which can be designated as green zones.

These areas surveyed and inventoried as suitable for planting include forest and watershed reservations (765.4221 ha.), parks and plazas (61.3182 ha.), city properties in the barangays suitable for tree parks (15.0889 ha.), government lots as possible green patches (42.0 ha.), private parks for possible tree planting (18.5 ha.), and public schools with tree planting areas (2.077 ha.).

Meanwhile, the City Planning and Development Office (CPDO) has recommended to the Sangguniang Panlungsod the enactment of legislations that will authorize the city to fence off identified watersheds, parks, tree parks, and spring lots “in order to protect them from the encroachment of private individuals, illegal land speculators and settlers.”

The CPDO has also suggested the conduct of capacity-building activities for barangay officials and residents on responsible management of green zones in their respective barangays to ensure that these areas are properly maintained and safeguarded.

In his letter dated February 18, Engr. Ralph Pablo (DENR-CAR Regional Director) expressed support to the city government in its quest for the management of urban green zones.

Furthermore, Pablo said the characteristics of trees and plants suitable for planting in green zones must be “fast growing, indigenous species, thick canopy cover, and perennial evergreen” mentioning Gmelina, Rain Tree, Mango, Caliandra, African Tulip, Bargas, Alnus, Benguet Pine, and Bouganvilla as the ideal species for the purpose.

In 2009, the Sangguniang Panlungsod passed a resolution urging the identification, inventory, protection, and management of all urban green zones in the city to be able to declare them as greenbelts.

Greenbelts are areas declared by local governments as protected areas in order to promote sustainability and environmental protection and lessen the impact of urbanization.

The resolution stated that these green zones must be protected from squatters, speculators, community expansion, and future urban developments that are harmful to people’s well-being.

Earlier this year, the Sanggunian’s Legislative Monitoring and Evaluation Section tracked the implementation of the said resolution. The tracking team concluded that the resolution is being complied with by concerned offices. –Jordan G. Habbiling