Last month, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) launched “Green Green Green,” an assistance program aimed to make the country’s 145 cities more livable and sustainable through the development of public open spaces. P2.5 billion has been set aside for the program in the 2018 national budget. Allocations for each city were computed based population and land area.
Expect 102 million Filipinos, more than 65% of our total population, to live in cities by year 2050, stated a report by the World Bank. Urbanization is a critical point for our economic growth. With national GDP steady at the 6% range since 2016, the Philippines remains the fastest growing economy in the ASEAN region.
However, with the housing problem, sluggish traffic, poor public transport, and shortage of open spaces, the Philippines has a lot of catching up to do. The World Heath Organization reports that successful cities provide a minimum of 9 square meters of green space per citizen. Putting that into perspective: the 600-square-meter Ortigas Park is in a business district with about 116,000 workers.
“Green Green Green” will help LGUs create parks, arboretum, and botanical gardens; improve livability of urban areas through various activities and methods such as landscaping, turfing, and tree planting; and transform streetscapes through installation of eco-friendly street furniture, fixtures, and shading.
In addition, the city governments will increase connectivity and accessibility of public open spaces by creating bike lanes and walkways, and enhance sustainability through the construction of green infrastructure like bioswales and surfaces which aid drainage during our rainy season.
DBM gathered city mayors and two officers from each LGU in a technical workshop on 15 March 2018. Discussions were focused on the importance of establishing and maintaining well-designed public open spaces in an urban area, as well as the best practices and lessons.
Landscape architect and urban designer Paulo Alcazaren, and landscape architect and UP College of Architecture lecturer Faith Dumaligan are resource speakers for the workshop. The technical workshop on “Green, Green, Green” will be led by DBM Assistance to Cities Program Manager Julia Nebrija and Local Government and Regional Coordination Bureau Director Leila Magda Rivera.