QC's La Mesa Park can be replicated
by Mai Gevera
Davao City (27 November) -- In the recently held 1st Davao Biodiversity Summit at the Marco Polo Hotel Thursday (November 25), various stakeholders learned from the La Mesa Park experience, considered a concrete example of private-public partnership.
La Mesa Eco Park administrator David Pardo shared how ABS-CBN Foundation created Bantay Kalikasan (Nature Watch) in 1999 and partnered with the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) to implement the "Save La Mesa Watershed Project". The project aimed to rehabilitate, reforest, preserve and protect the La Mesa Watershed after experiencing problems on poaching, logging, and illegal settling.
Bantay Kalikasan also involved the public in its effort of preserving the park. Through its Adopt-A-Tree/Protect-A-Hectare program, there was a sense of public ownership along with the private and government sectors initiating the project.
To sustain the Save La Mesa Watershed Project, Bantay Kalikasan partnered with the MWSS and the Quezon City Government to rehabilitate and renovate a 33-hectare public park located right outside the natural boundaries of the watershed, 40 meters below the reservoir. In September of 2004, it was renamed La Mesa Ecopark and reopened to the public. All revenues generated by La Mesa Ecopark are utilized for the continuous management and protection of La Mesa Watershed.
Pardo stressed the need for credibility and integrity of a certain organization for it to get the trust of the people.
"This way, it won't be difficult for one to get the support of everybody," he said.
The 1st Davao Biodiversity Summit gathered the commitment of public and private sectors in the community. Among those who expressed commitment are Environment and Natural resources Regional Director Jim Sampulna, Tourism Regional Director Arturo Boncato Jr., Health Regional Director Teogenes Baluma, Davao del Norte Governor Rodolfo del Rosario, Davao del Sur Governor Douglas Cagas, Davao Oriental Governor Corazon Malanyaon, Compostela Valley Governor Arturo Uy, and City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte. (PIA XI) [top]