MANILA, Philippines — When the land and our tears have dried, and it’s time to rethink Urban Development, let us hope that Quezon City-Ayala’s vision of a central business district in the mould of the Makati CBD will be accomplished without taking down the beautiful trees, without wiping out the lovely green of the Veterans Memorial Hospital’s golf course.
In the age of green, it would be painfully devastating to see what was once a sight for sore eyes being turned into a billion-peso field of gray – concrete, metal and steel, stone, plastic and resin. Without a park of firmly established trees mightily flourishing in fair and foul weather, what would such a 252-hectare site be? Another “mixed-use development” spelling more traffic jams and carbon emissions, another piece of prime real estate awaiting years for trees to grow? Developers and builders have money to build, but no money in the world can build a tree overnight.
It’s a comfort to know that Vice President Jojo Binay is chairman of the Urban Triangle Development Commission overseeing the project. Having been a multiterm mayor of Makati, how many were the times when he tried to imagine the future of the richest city (in terms of taxes, anyway) as the dream city? As long as the list of his mayoral accomplishments – and incidentally those of his wife and son – may have been, surely there were a few dream items (as God is in the details) that fell through the cracks? Maybe details as precious as shaded walkways, flowering plants and tinkling fountains, climbing vines and a sprawling golf course for retired soldiers, an enchanted jungle of fruit trees in the middle of the city?
Mr. VP, please save the golf course. It’s old, but not everything that’s new is best.