Foundation defends mega jab hub against environmental concerns
Photo shows urban forest on Nayong Pilipino property.
Nayong Pilipino

Foundation defends mega jab hub against environmental concerns

(Philstar.com) - May 13, 2021 - 3:40pm

MANILA, Philippines — The International Container Terminal Services Foundation defended its proposal to construct a mega vaccination site, calling the proposed site "a deserted, uninhabited and vacant area and not an urban forest as erroneously claimed."

To recall, the proposal sparked tension between the group and environmental watchdogs over the potential damage to urban wildlife in the grassland. 

As a result, the Nayong Pilipino Foundation has yet to sign the memorandum of agreement to construct the facility. 

According to ICTSI In a statement issued Wednesday, the proposed site is on a vacant portion of the Nayong Pilipino property along New Seaside Road, Entertainment City, in Parañaque which "sits on reclaimed land and unused portions of it, along with the Nayong Pilipino property, [which] have limited vegetation including non-endemic trees."

"The facility is designed by Architect Jun Palafox, a renowned environmental planner, who is giving his services free of charge...It must be put in context that one of the advocacies of the ICTSI Foundation is sustainable environmental protection," the statement reads. 

Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment earlier called the thriving urban forest on the property a “critical safe space” that will benefit 1.2 million residents of the city and neighboring Pasay.

The group suggested authorities retrofit malls, golf courses, and sports complexes to generate space for vaccination facilities instead. 

“It’s not just the birds and the bees. The increasing loss of green spaces across Metro Manila is making people more vulnerable to floods and extreme climate impacts,” Leon Dulce, national coordinator of Kalikasan PNE said earlier. 

But the foundation in its statement asserted that the project had the support of the national government amid the coronavirus pandemic. Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr has also pointed to the project's contribution to the country's vaccination capacity. 

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea has since issued a memorandum to the NPFI board "directing" it to allow government agencies to use its property "as a site for vaccination center."

The NPF for its part has said that the urban forest is home to a variety of wildlife as it serves as a bird flyway network. It is also the “last remaining grassland” in the reclaimed area of Parañaque.

"The new, temporary, and environmentally light vaccination facility has a design capacity to vaccinate as many as 10,000 to 12,000 people a day, roughly 300,000 a month," ICTSI said. 

"It will feature an ambulatory vaccination station and a drive-through area. It will take 60 days to construct the facility in time for the arrival of bulk of vaccinations."

with reports from Gaea Katreena Cabico 

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