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CEPMO bares Urban Forest Plan
13 November 2020 – City environment parks and management office (Cepmo) head Atty. Rhenan Diwas presented a proposed Urban Forest Management Plan for the Summer Capital during the regular management committee meeting of city officials led by Mayor Benjamin Magalong, Nov. 11, at Baguio Convention Center.
He said the proposal started as a tree planting guide but leveled-up into a full-fledged master plan upon the request of national and international entities as a requirement for possible funding purposes.
“The idea of the plan is the integration and sustainability of forest cover in an urban setting just like what we have in Baguio,” Diwas explained.
We have adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) framework on the environment for the plan consistent with national and international policies, he added.
Diwas pointed out that achieving environmental integrity undergirds all other SDGs like societal, economic, health and the like.
“It is not a privilege but a right for everyone to enjoy clean air and have potable water which the plan is anchored on,” he said.
In collaboration with the city planning and development office (CPDO) and other concerned agencies, the plan aims to foster the health and well-being of the public, increase property values, increase water re-charge areas, mitigate temperature increase, increase tourism inflow, encourage green connectivity, and more.
Diwas disclosed that rapid population increase, unhampered urbanization, diminishing and fragmented forest cover, breach in the city’s carrying capacity are among the contributory factors to the city’s environmental problems.
He claimed that Baguio is currently experiencing an “urban heat island” phenomena where it has warmer temperatures than surrounding areas despite its higher elevation due to lack of forest cover and biodiversity loss.
The plan aims to mitigate this problem thru the creation of strategic planting areas in the city’s “hot spots” and by encouraging the use of green architecture, creation of green belts, and the like, Diwas said.-Gaby B. Keith