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The city government will start building the first government center arboretum cum botanical and herbal garden at the Balayong People’s Park this Saturday, July 30, as part of the Balayong Tree Planting and Nurturing Festival 2022.

The arboretum, according to Atty. Carlo Gomez, head of the City Environmental and Natural Resources Office (City ENRO), will be a realization of their original plans for the park, which is to be a “real forest jungle in the city.”

“In the first place, our concept of the Balayong Park, originally… is supposed to be a park within government centers and in the middle of it is a forest. But because of the infrastructures made, na-defer muna ang plan natin to create a forest park. Now na delineated na yung infrastructures, we said it’s time to proceed to the old plan to establish an arboretum,” Gomez explained.

The arboretum will house all Palawan-endemic tree species and will also act as a research center and bioreserve.

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Gomez said that even if some tree species had already been extinct in the wild, there are still trees of the same kind in the Balayong Arboretum that researchers and environmentalists might utilize to propagate.

The City ENRO is particularly excited about the arboretum’s potential to attract not only visitors but also scholars and students since the region might function as a research laboratory.

“Sana maka encourage rin itong arboretum na magbukas dito sa Palawan ng Botany [programs], kasi there’s so much to discover. We hope we can encourage universities to open programs dahil meron na silang reason, mas may mapag-aaralan,” Gomez, as he cited the loss of our forests as the reason for the students’ lack of interest in Botany.

The City ENRO chair also emphasized the need for this arboretum to be developed as soon as possible in order to mitigate the effects of climate change.

“If we do not plant more trees, we cannot reverse the effects of climate change that’s why we’re doing it now. We should have actually done it 50 years ago,” he stated.

In terms of the project’s sustainability, the City ENRO said it will regularly oversee and improve the area, through the assistance of the Balayong Park Management.

Furthermore, Gomez emphasized the necessity of city leaders in preserving the arboretum and other natural resources in Puerto Princesa.

“Kapag dinatnan tayo ng isang lider who doesn’t care sa mga ganitong natural environment natin, then we will kill our future and hope na magkaroon ng ‘forest in the city’,” he said.

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is a student-intern reporter of Palawan News and is currently taking up Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Media Studies at University of the Philippines Visayas. She covers special reports in tourism, business and other human interest stories. Her interests includes singing, painting, and volunteering in civic organizations like the Girl Scouts of the Philippines.