Environment group asks Duterte to veto amended land use plan

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/09 February) — An environment group renewed its calls for City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to veto the amended 2013 Comprehensive Land Use Plan that removed the 10-percent green space provision on top of the 30 percent open space in every property development project.

During Monday’s Kapehan sa Dabaw at SM City, Mylai Santos, director of Ecoteneo Division of the Ateneo de Davao University, said scrapping the 10-percent green space provision threatens the wildlife and health of the Dabawenyos as this serves as a carbon sink.

She said they will submit to the city council on Tuesday (Feb. 9) another batch of 10,000 signatures of individuals who oppose the CLUP that was amended last Jan. 19.

“We are asking the mayor to veto the CLUP,” she said, adding they already submitted a letter to Duterte requesting a meeting with him to air their side on the issue.

She opposed the city council’s move to amend the measure on substantive and procedural grounds.

Santos said the council did not consult the local zoning review committee when it amended the CLUP.

She said the councilors argued that the 10-percent green space requirement discourages investors who see it as additional cost and a reduction of area for development.

She said Duterte still has 10 days from receipt of the amended CLUP to review and veto it.

Environment groups like the Interface Development Interventions was part of the committee but they were not informed by the council that it was in the process of amending the CLUP, IDIS executive director Mary Ann Fuertes said.

Santos added they were shocked to learn that the council approved on third and final reading the measure last month.

Julia Jasmine Sta. Romana, campaigner for Internet Rights of Dakila, said they intend to raise awareness on the issue among Dabawenyos because they get more participation from them as they make strides in the internet campaign.

She said support groups have launched an onlilne petition on change.org called “10,000 faces to retain 10 percent green space.”

She said it is important that the councilors understand what a green space can do in health, social, economic, and environmental terms.

Pockets of green spaces where the trees grow are more effective as carbon sink than trees planted individually in some areas. Green space can be a home to wildlife animals like birds, Santos added.

“Our councilors might have forgotten, but we have not forgotten them… Let’s remind them,” she said.

In his statement during a press conference on Monday last week at ADDU, Sangguniang Kabataan representative Claide Saludar said the council has abandoned the Dabawenyo youth when they passed the amendment.

“January 26, 2016 will always be a day we could never forget. It was the day when the Dabawenyo youth were abandoned by the legislators of the City that claims to be where life is – the beginning of doomsday,” he said.

He said the action deprived “the youth and the future generation the opportunity to live in an urbanized community that can still be a haven because of the lush greenery inside the subdivision.”

“Access to public open space and parks, vegetated areas, tree parks, and playgrounds has been associated with better perceived general health, reduced stress levels, reduced depression and more,” he added.

He accused the legislators of caving in to the pressures of the property developers.

“Our legislators have once again sided with monetary interests of the capitalists over the more significant issues of climate change. Whenever the best interest of Mother Nature is at risk, our decision makers tend to take the other side and put her best interest aside.

“To our legislators who voted for the amendment, as a young Dabawenyo, I am displeased with your way of thinking. I am unhappy with your betrayal to Mother Earth. I am dismayed with how you were easily swayed by investors. I am disheartened by your betrayal of the Dabawenyos trust. I am frustrated, plain and simple,” he said.

Lawyer Arnold Abejaron, of ADDU’s University Community Engagement Advocacy Council, said they will file a case if Duterte will not veto the amended CLUP.

“Pero gusto namin makipag-usap kasi hindi ito labanan,” Santos said. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)