September 30, 2023

The city council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance promoting the creation, use, and maintenance of healthy open public spaces in the city and other health and environment initiatives.

Under the proposed ordinance authored by Councilor Betty Lourdes F. Tabanda, it cited it is the policy of the local government to ensure the general health and well-being of its constituents by protecting their physical and social environment.

The ordinance added the city adopts several principles such as public open spaces that should be designed and developed with cognizance of the needs of all individuals, especially vulnerable population groups within the community; public open spaces shall be designed, developed, and maintained to promote practices that maintain the environmental, social, and economic needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

It stated public open spaces shall promote environmental sustainability, conservation, and green practices as well as local cultural heritage and shall be designed, developed, and maintained with the same principle.

The ordinance aims to provide guidance on the identification, assessment, use, and management of public open spaces to promote sustainability and support the physical and mental health and well being of Filipinos residing in the city.

Further, a task force under the City Environment and Parks Management Office shall be established to oversee the development of policies, review development plans and proposals, enforce ordinances, lead communities, serve as the main liaison for partnerships, address citizens concerns related to the health, safety, maintenance, and use of public open spaces, as well as coordinate with national government agencies in carrying out roles and responsibilities with regards to the  creation and maintenance of healthy, public, and open spaces.

The ordinance added all project proposals shall undergo, as applicable, a thorough review, including, but not limited to the conduct of an environmental impact assessment, pursuant to Presidential Decree 1586, health impact assessment in accordance with the Department of Health, Department of the Interior and Local Government Joint Administrative Order 2021-0001 and the climate and disaster risk assessment pursuant to Republic Act 9720 or the Climate Change Act of 2009.  – PIO release