Regional Executive Director Jacqueline A. Caancan spoke before the participating representatives of local governments in Metro Manila to the first round of consultation meetings for data validation of identified Urban Green Spaces (UGS) of the region Wednesday, 12 October 2022, at Sequoia Hotel in Quezon City.
The activity was led by the DENR Forest Management Bureau (FMB) and meant to establish a unified guideline for identifying and mapping UGS using Geographic Information System (GIS) and Remote Sensing (RS) tools.
The resulting guidelines and maps may then be used by local chief executives, urban planners, and other stakeholders to aid them in crafting policies and plans to effectively protect, develop, and conserve the region’s remaining forest resources and UGS.
“Our meeting today is but the start. We may not realize it just yet, but the results of our activity today, along with the guidelines and spatial data sets that we will be creating, may have an importance far bigger than what we originally envisioned, especially in the light of the promulgation of the Mandanas ruling”, Director Caancan said, reminding the participants of the importance of the activity.
Director Caancan said that UGS enhances the health of our urban environment and its residents, and improves the climate resiliency of the region. “An increase in the available UGS for Metro Manila will make our cities and communities greener and more habitable”, Director Caancan emphasized.
To date, however, Metro Manila falls below the standard set by the World Health Organization (WHO) for UGS per person. According to WHO, the ideal is nine (9) square meters per person but Metro Manila, according to the latest inventory of UGS, can only offer five (5) square meters per person.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us to increase our UGS”, Director Caancan said. “But I trust that our partners from both the national and local government understand the significance of our work and dedicate more than what is required from us to accomplish this task”. Director Caancan thanked the FMB, through its OIC-Assistant Director Edna D. Nuestro for organizing the event. She also thanked the LGUs who sent their representatives to the activity.