EDITORIAL: Green spaces for the rich only?

February 17th, 2016 by

The national law requires subdivision developers to allocate 30 percent for open spaces but the Davao City Council enacted a landmark ordinance requiring an additional 10 percent green space. The same Council, with the exception of a few, changed their minds after a year or two, and decided to do away with the mandatory 10 percent green space and instead, incorporated that to the national law requirement. Several councilors claim they were doing Dabawenyos a favor because imposing the additional 10 percent green space is an added cost to the developers that has resulted to an increase in the price of housing units which poor people—to include office workers who get a meager salary of less than P10,000 a month—could not afford. They said the amendment to the zoning ordinance is favorable to these poor people who slave their lives away just to get poor-quality low cost housing. Of course, developers of high-end subdivisions allocate more than 30 percent for their open and green spaces because the houses are more expensive.

We have this feeling of dread, listening to these councilors who keep on justifying their actions in approving the amendment. Instead of penalizing and mandating developers to stick to their promises when they pre-sell the lots, regardless if it is low cost or high-end, this body opted to penalize the poor people who live in low cost subdivisions. The moral of the story is that, if you are poor then you don’t deserve breathing space. Where is social justice in this argument? And we thought that the members of this body consisting of supposedly honorable men and women were elected by the people to make sure that the people they serve get social justice. The argument that the Council did not remove the 10 percent green space but made it better by incorporating it in the 30 percent open space and mandating the developers how to utilize that space is obviously a mantra they have memorized to justify their acts.

Watershed advocacy group Interface Development Interventions (IDIS) begged to disagree and slammed Councilor Bernard Al-ag for saying that the 10 percent green space requirement is ‘anti-poor’ since it will make developers build high-rise subdivisions instead of social housing. This statement, according to IDIS, “smacks of elitism; even poor families living in low cost subdivisions have a right to greenery in their communities.”  (MINDANAO DAILY MIRROR)

Al-ag told: green spaces not only for rich

February 16th, 2016 by

DAVAO CITY – One of the city’s lawmakers who pushed to remove the 10 percent ‘green space’ requirement from an ordinance got a tongue-lashing for saying such rule might discourage developers from building socialized housing projects.

“Is the councilor saying that green spaces are a luxury only meant for those who can afford upscale subdivisions? Even poor families living in low cost subdivisions have a right to greenery in their communities,” said Mary Ann Fuertes, Interface Development Interventions (IDIS) executive director.

Fuertes was referring to Councilor Bernard Al-ag, who recently said the 10 percent green space requirement is not needed to make Davao a green city since land developers may put ornamental plants in open spaces to make the subdivisions greener.

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Joey Ayala in Davao this March for songwriting seminar

February 15th, 2016 by

DAVAO CITY – Datu Bago awardee Joey Ayala will conduct a two-day workshop for the Lunhaw Awards beginning March 15 in Davao City, where his musical career first began.

Ayala, renowned for his use of Filipino ethnic instruments in his modern pop music, will direct and facilitate the second year of the annual MusiKalikasan at the Ateneo de Davao University’s Xavier Community Center.

The workshop will teach participants how to compose an effective song in order to promote environmental awareness and stewardship among the public, said Lemuel Manalo, one of the organizers of Lunhaw Awards.

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