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Metro

Atienza asks Roco to keep his hands off Arroceros Park

- Bebot Sison Jr., Cecille Suerte Felipe -
Manila Mayor Lito Atienza scored yesterday former Education Secretary and presidential wannabe Raul Roco for meddling in the development plans of the Arroceros Park in the city. Atienza said Roco should have asked him about the real story of the development of the three-hectare property owned by the Manila Division of City Schools before issuing any statement.

"We are saddened by this erroneous and very irresponsible statement. It is unfortunate that he (Roco) decided to criticize us before knowing the facts," Atienza said. He called on Roco to instead help develop the area to improve its natural surroundings.

Roco, who was the guest speaker during an event held last Saturday at the Arroceros Forest Park, said "Progress should not be made at cost of trees. Money is replaceable, trees aren’t." He was referring to the plans of the city government to develop the park.

Atienza said the city government is planning to enhance the three-hectare park by transforming the main area into a botanical garden with only a small area on the northwest portion of the property to be used as the new headquarters of teachers.

"Who said anything about cutting trees?" asked Atienza, noting that "what we plan to do is to preserve the centuries-old trees and transfer some of the younger ones so we could enhance the area."

To date, there are 3,500 fully-grown trees, including 150 century-old trees in the park, which is bounded by Arroceros street on the west, Pasig River on the east, Quezon Bridge on the north and Lions Road on the south.

"We intend to transform it into a real botanical garden that would benefit everyone and at the same time give the public school teachers of Manila their own building," he said.

The property, which used to house the central office of the Department of Education, was purchased by the city government in 1993 using the money of the city’s public school teachers from the Special Education Fund (SEF).

vuukle comment

ARROCEROS FOREST PARK

ARROCEROS PARK

ATIENZA

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

EDUCATION SECRETARY

LIONS ROAD

MANILA DIVISION OF CITY SCHOOLS

MANILA MAYOR LITO ATIENZA

PASIG RIVER

ROCO

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