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Environment groups oppose P42M park project in Tanjay

DUMAGUETE CITY, Philippines – A multi-million peso project in Tanjay City, Negros Oriental is now into rough sailing due to vehement objection from groups who claimed to be advocates of the environment.

Tanjay City Mayor Reynaldo Concepcion earlier disclosed funding for the P42-million project for the improvement and renovation of Rizal Park to make it look like the Rizal Park in Manila. It is now ready for implementation after complying with all the requirements, he said.

However, members of the Tanjay Anti-Black Sand Mining and some members of non-government organizations  who were invited during the public hearing on Decmber 29, last year at the Osmeña Park in the city, continued to stage protests against the project.

Romualdo Dondee Señeris of the Visayan Forum said the cutting of trees, as part of the project, is definitely not in line with the climate change adaptation mandate of local government units.

Señeris requested the Tanjay City government, represented during the hearing by the OIC city administrator, the ENRO officer, city planning, city legal and the chairman of the committee on environment in the City Council, to change the design of the proposed project instead.

Inventory showed 19 trees would be affected and uprooted: 12 mahogany trees, four pine trees, two gmelina trees and one mango tree.

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According to Señeris, the group will be filing a formal complaint before the proper forum to make known its objection to the cutting of trees, adding that they are for development but wanted to spare the trees that act as carbon sink by absorbing carbon dioxide at a rate of 48 lbs. per year and in turn release enough oxygen back into the atmosphere to support human beings.

He noted that trees inside the Rizal Park have helped maintain the balance of the surroundings of two churches and three schools in the area, including the municipal hall and the police station nearby.

Señeris suggested that funding for the proposed project be used instead to further develop the Tanjay Board Walk, which is one of the main tourist attractions of the city.

Mayor Concepcion considered the Rizal Park as a historical place for tourists, both local and foreign, to visit. Thus, the need to make it look like the Rizal Park in Manila for Tanjayanons to be proud of, the mayor added.  (FREEMAN)

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