Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC), the country’s leading infrastructure investment company, broke ground on the Gabay Kalikasan Park, in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Biodiversity Management Bureau (DENR-BMB), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – National Capital Region (DENR-NCR), and the local government unit of Quezon City.
In a groundbreaking event held on March 9, 2023, representatives from MPIC, DENR-BMB, DENR-NCR, and the QC LGU, officially ushered the development of Gabay Kalikasan Park into an urban green park model as part of the landmark three-year public-private partnership for urban biodiversity in the Philippines.
“MPIC sees itself as the public sector’s partner in nation building, and advocating for environmental sustainability is part of that,” says MPIC Chairman, President, and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan. “Expanding our biodiversity-friendly footprint is crucial to our mission of uplifting the lives of Filipinos.”
Building a Biodiversity-Friendly City
The primary goal of the project is to contribute to the development of a biodiversity-friendly city to increase access of urban dwellers to green spaces and maintain functional urban green spaces to regain ecosystem services, develop resiliency, increase aesthetics and quality of urban environment, and bring people close to nature to improve human well-being.
“Given the circumstances, I think this is the perfect site for this project,” said Quezon City LGU Parks Development and Administration Department OIC Ar. Baltazar Avelino.“On behalf of our Mayor, I would like to thank the DENR for initiating the project and MPIC for funding the project. I hope we do more projects with you and would like to thank all of you for your initiatives.”
The project aims to pilot the Adopt-a-City approach in the implementation of the Urban Biodiversity program, encouraging business sector support in creating green urban communities at the city and barangay/village level.
“Gabay Kalikasan Park, aptly named after our advocacy on environment stewardship, is a testament to our group’s commitment to become a catalyst for inclusive, safer, resilient, livable, and sustainable cities and communities,” said MPIC Chief Finance, Risk, and Sustainability Officer Chaye A. Cabal-Revilla. “We gladly take on the responsibility with the government and communities to create greater environmental responsibility in our country, for the good of our people and our planet.”
Aside from the establishment of the green linear park, the parties will also jointly implement important project activities such as development of Communication, Education, and Public Awareness (CEPA) plans and capacity-building trainings and workshops for the partner communities, among others.
DENR-NCR Regional Executive Director Jacqueline Caancan emphasized the goal of this program and the impact it will have. “Gabay Kalikasan Park is an important undertaking as it helps address the lack of urban green spaces in Metro Manila and provides a model for the private sector on green investments. As the pandemic has taught us, urban green spaces play an important role in keeping us physically and mentally healthy and in improving the environment. Hence, the initiative of the MPIC to build a public park in partnership with the DENR and the Quezon City government is truly commendable.”
“This partnership with MPIC also highlights the role of the business sector in building green and resilient cities,” says DENR-BMB Director and Assistant Secretary for Policy, Planning and Foreign-Assisted and Special Projects Marcial C. Amaro, Jr. “Let us continue our collaborative work towards the goal of developing biodiversity-friendly cities in the country and in strengthening biodiversity conservation in the metropolis.”
This partnership for Gabay Kalikasan Park bolsters MPIC’s resolve to be the largest catalyst for a Sustainable Philippines. It is also aligned with the efforts of the conglomerate to contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), primarily SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities.