THE Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has committed to support green infrastructure and open spaces in cities with an annual allocation.
“DBM plans to fund this program every year of the administration until the tides have turned, and public space is no longer an aspiration but a given,” Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said in a speech on Monday during the launch of the Green, Green, Green program at the National Museum of Natural History in Manila.
Mr. Diokno said the program generated an 143 green projects for this years, composed of 60 public parks, two mangrove parks, 21 public squares and plazas, 13 institutional open spaces, 30 waterfronts, and 16 streetscapes.
He said that the program increased the amount of public open space excluding roadways by 2.65% on average, and is projected to benefit up to 300,000 pedestrians overall.
“Our Local Government Code requires that all cities provide parks and the newly released National Urban Development Framework promotes the adequate network of open spaces to be implemented through the comprehensive land use guidelines. We are finally putting our money where our mouth is,” said Mr. Diokno.
The DBM opened a P2.59-billion Local Government Support Fund — Assistance to Cities financing space in 2017 to support “the development of their respective open spaces” in the country’s 145 cities.
These include the enrichment of open space through turfing, landscaping, and green space architecture; establishment of forest parks, arboretums and botanical gardens; transformation of streetscapes, such as the installation of eco-friendly street furniture and fixtures, and shade; augmentation of connectivity and accessibility, including the construction of eco-friendly bike lanes and walkways; and green infrastructure enhancements, such as tree planting, construction of bioswales and pervious surfaces.
“I am happy to report that many of the projects are clearly drawing from international best practices and innovations. From water management to pedestrian and bike friendly streets to using local flora and fauna, LGUs are building knowledge on urban design, applying what they have learned in the DBM-organized workshops, and initiating their own correspondences with our resources persons,” said Mr. Diokno.
“DBM has set up a technical review unit to oversee the effective utilization of the fund, working with local staff to improve designs. We will continue offering the LGUs learning opportunities as we explore partnerships with the private sector, academe, and international institutions,” he added. — Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan