By Antonio Jose Galauran and Luis Adrian Hidalgo, VERA Files
IN May 2013, a few months after the University of the Philippines-Diliman signed an agreement with the agriculture and environment departments and the UP Beta Sigma Fraternity to develop its 22-hectare arboretum into a National Botanical Garden, residents of Pook Arboretum barricaded a portion of Metro Manila’s last remaining forest and installed placards and tarpaulins slamming the plan.
Two months later, they marched from their homes to the UP Diliman campus to force university officials to consult them on the proposal.
The 2,500 inhabitants of Pook Arboretum, all of them informal settlers, feared losing their homes once the botanical garden is established.
A series of dialogues between representatives from the university and Pook Arboretum would end in a compromise.
Affected residents were promised on-site relocation, participative maintenance, and livelihood projects. They were told that they would beRead More »from Near-site relocation mulled for urban forest dwellers