CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – City officials on Thursday, July 11, finally got the ball rolling on an ecopark project in an old dumpsite.
Mayor Oscar Moreno led the groundbreaking ceremony for the 18-hectare ecopark inside the old city dumpsite in Zayas, Barangay Carmen, in the city’s western district.
The development of the ecopark will cost P135 million. Of this amount, P100 million will come from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) while the city government will shoulder the balance.
“We were looking at developing a city park. We look at Gaston Park, the Divisoria, but I wanted to make something of the old dumpsite where no one would want to visit because it stinks; the smell is unbearable,” Moreno said, in explaining why he pushed for an ecopark in that area.
The mayor said scavengers who used to operate in the old dumpsite would be prioritized for employment at the ecopark.
“They will be the one doing maintenance in this park,” Moreno said.
The City Ecopark, which will be managed by the City Tourism Office, is expected to be fully operational by 2022.
Architect Catherine Ramuso, the project design lead, said that phase one of the project will include the construction of a function hall, boat dock, food court, pond/water catchment, ampitheater, and a children’s playground.
The planned lush, tree-filled ecopark will also have an administration building, an adult play area, a walkway, lanes for jogging and biking, a butterfly garden, fruit garden, research facilities, a plant nursery, access roads, a parking area, and a transport hub,
The city is already home to 4 parks: Gaston Park, Plaza Divisoria, the provincial government-owned forested Vicente de Lara Park, and the Department of Tourism-owned watershed Malasag Ecopark which is situated at the east district of the city.
The old dumpsite became one of the city government’s problems as it continued to be filled with trash in violation of Republic Act No. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.
When Moreno was first elected as city mayor in 2013, he ordered the closure of the dumpsite which should have been done as early as 2005 in compliance with the law.
He said a “hostile” City Council thumbed down the closure of the dumpsite each time he allocated budget for it during his first term.
Following the election of new city officials in 2016, the new City Council finally approved the closure of the dumpsite, and city garbage was brought to a landfill in Barangay Pagalungan.
Engineer Armen Cuenca of the City Local Environment and Natural Resources Office said that in 2018, the Environment Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Region 10 issued a certification for the complete closure of the old dumpsite.
Moreno said on Thursday that the city government will also shut down the illegal dumpsite that scavengers who used to operate in the old dumpsite created across the road.
The illegal dumpsite was inside a private property were scavengers dumped, sorted and sold their collected garbage. Moreno indicated that 50 informal settler families lived there.
“We need to relocate some 50 families from across the road, and close that dumpsite. The city has resources to relocate these families into our housing projects,” Moreno said.
Moreno tasked CIty Social Welfare Deparment head Teddy Sabuga-a to identify the families for relocation, and the City Housing and Urban Development Department to begin work on providing housing for the displaced families. – Rappler.com