Davao mayor urged to intensify park management

A LOCAL environmental group urged Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio to intensify the management of existing parks in the city along with her promise during the State of City Address (Soca) last Tuesday, September 12, to improve green spaces in the city by building more public parks.

Interface Development Interventions (Idis) research specialist Lemuel Manalo, in an interview, said the city has 39 existing government-owned park sites composed of major city parks, small parks, and center isle parks wherein most are deficient in terms of maintenance and amenities.

Manalo said the government has to prioritize first the management improvement of various existing parks like People's Park and Rizal Park before the City Government focuses on the construction of the botanical garden, mini-park, and skatepark as the mayor bared in her Soca.

"How can we maintain the future parks if we cannot maintain our existing ones?" he said.

In an assessment done by Idis with New York University and other local environmental groups last May, it showed that two common weaknesses seen in majority of the parks in the city are lack of toilet areas and wheelchair lanes for persons with disabilities.

Manalo said some parks in the city have zero toilet rooms while those that do have lack proper sanitation. He added that the wheelchair lanes are also inadequate which lessen its public accessibility.

He said these two maintenance and amenity issues, along with the other listed issues, have to be fixed to provide the public the services they are entitled to receive in a park.

Idis executive director Chinkie Golle said parks should be prioritized as these are the indicators of a sustainable city.

"With the political will of the current administration, we are confident that the World Health Organization standard of 9,000 square meters and roughly having green spaces within 500 meters from one's home is possible in Davao City," she said.
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