Presidential candidate and Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso has formally opened to the public the redeveloped Arroceros Urban Forest Park, considered as the capital city’s “last lung.”
“Many of you will visit open green space and I do believe, with a little knowledge, it will help the mental health issue that our countrymen face today; that we are all under the fear of this pandemic that could cause danger to our lives,” Moreno said in a speech Friday night during the inauguration of the redeveloped park.
The redevelopment was a product of the City of Manila’s planned development under the leadership of Mayor Isko.
The City government of Manila purchased the 2.2 hectare land in 1992 along with the more than 3,000 trees of 61 varieties and 8,000 ornamental plants.
The Arroceros park is also home to 10 bird species.
In February 2020, Moreno signed Ordinance No. 8607, officially declaring the park along Arroceros Street as a permanent forest park.
“The trees have been taken care of and there are many plants and other things that our grandparents can use. I am happy for you and you can bring your grandchildren, your family here,” Domagos said.
“I’m happy with those who do Zumba, Taichi, and calisthenics because there is a space for you there. We allot those spaces to be useful and you are safe inside,” he said.
The Aksyon Demokratiko standard-bearer was joined by officials of the Manila city government, the private sector as well as environmental groups who have earlier expressed apprehension on the redevelopment plan.
After undergoing construction for six months, the Arroceros park now has fountains, elevated walkways, a coffee shop, and play areas for children.
There is also a space for calisthenics for senior citizens as the asphalt used is water-absorbent and has a rubber-like softness.
Domagoso, who has touted the new Arroceros Park as the Philippine capital’s version of New York’s Central Park, invited the public to visit the area which will serve as another attraction to the people of
Manila and even non-city residents who have been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic for two years already.