Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC), the country’s leading infrastructure investment company, partnered with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Biodiversity Management Bureau (DENR-BMB), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – National Capital Region (DENR-NCR), and the local government unit of Quezon City to implement the project “Building a Biodiversity-Friendly Environment in Metro Manila.”
The parties signed a Memorandum of Agreement to signify their three-year commitment to implement the urban biodiversity program in Quezon City. To jumpstart this partnership, MPIC will adopt the Madison Park along Aurora Boulevard and develop it into an urban green park model, which will be formally known as the Gabay Kalikasan Park.
“We at MPIC have embedded environmental stewardship into our key business and investment strategies, which emphasizes our commitment to building a biodiversity-friendly environment for all,” MPIC Chairman, President and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan said. “This partnership is another step that helps us move towards uplifting the lives of Filipinos by ensuring that environmental sustainability is a top priority,” he added.
Towards a Greener QC
The primary goal of the project is to contribute to the development of a biodiversity-friendly city to increase access of urban dwellers to green spaces and maintain functional urban green spaces to regain ecosystem services, develop resiliency, increase aesthetics and quality of urban environment, and bring people close to nature to improve human well-being.
In his recorded keynote speech, DENR Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna said, “While our focus is largely directed at managing natural ecosystems through the establishment of protected areas, we also need to address the importance of enhancing our urban ecosystems to be able to provide a quality and livable environment for urban dwellers.”
Through this partnership, the project aims to pilot the Adopt-a-City approach in the implementation of the Urban Biodiversity program, encouraging business sector support in creating green urban communities at the city and barangay/village level.
In a recorded message, Quezon City Mayor Hon. Joy G. Belmonte expressed her gratitude to the partners for starting the project in their city. “Expanding our green spaces has always been one of the priorities of the City Government, and the development and sustainable management of Madison Park in Brgy. Mariana, which they have proposed to be named as Gabay Kalikasan Park, is an initial step to hopefully gain more support from the national government and the private sector in advancing the City’s urban biodiversity goals.”
It is also a means to increase awareness, understanding, and appreciation of local communities and other stakeholders on the importance of urban biodiversity and green spaces to encourage individual actions on urban greening.
MPIC, guided by its thrust to design, build, and operate its key businesses with minimal environmental and social disruption, will invest the needed financial support to ensure the project’s sustainability and success. Aligned with MVP’s Gabay Advocacies for a Sustainable Philippines, the partnership also cements the conglomerate’s significant role in both infrastructural progress and environmental stewardship.
“We recognize that the essential nature of our businesses has a pervasive impact both in our country’s progress and sustainable development,” said MPIC Chief Finance, Risk, and Sustainability Officer Chaye A. Cabal-Revilla. “We are a firm believer that public-private sector partnership is important to create greater environmental responsibility. By investing in green public spaces and transforming the way we build and manage our urban spaces, we hope to be a catalyst for inclusive, safer, resilient, livable, and sustainable cities and communities,” she added.
Building a Biodiversity-Friendly Metro
DENR-National Capital Region (NCR) Regional Executive Director Jacqueline Caancan expressed her support for the project through provision of necessary technical support and management systems. She hopes that the DENR-NCR can “help increase the available green spaces for Metro Manilans. “The program is timely, especially now that we are battling a pandemic,” she said.
This project will apply the neighborhood and greenbelt urban form approach to create ecological corridors that connect natural and built environments.
Aside from the establishment of the green linear park, the parties will also jointly implement important project activities such as development of Communication, Education, and Public Awareness (CEPA) plans and capacity-building trainings and workshops for the partner communities, among others.
BMB Director Natividad Y. Bernardino said that through the DENR’s Urban Biodiversity Program, Filipinos “can visualize the city landscape with living rivers, streams, lakes, coastal areas, swamps, urban forest parks, and green highways for wildlife.”
This partnership for Gabay Kalikasan Park is aligned with MPIC’s efforts to contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), particularly SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities.