Peter Laviña

The ABCs (Activities, Beliefs and Campaigns) of City Councilor Peter Tiu Laviña of Davao City, Philippines. This blog started on March 9, 2006.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

My own central park

Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has finally made a policy decision last Sunday to convert the old PTA grounds into a park.

Much of the news in town likened the future park to the famed Central Park in New York City. Of course, our city property along Palma Gil and Camus Sts. pales in comparison. It is only less than five hectares now since the building of many school classrooms around its periphery.

What the mayor has in mind is closer to the old Greenbelt at the Makati Commercial Center where tall trees served as a fitting home to an aviary.

Fire gutted the erstwhile sports stadium in this place almost two decades ago. Hopes for erecting a new stadium has been the subject of debates for so long now.

I agree with the mayor that we have to decide finally on its fate. Now, it is time to put this decision to fruition. Let us roll up our sleeves to plan and plant.

Admiring one of the many parks in Buenos Aires. This one is the Plaza Libertador with the huge monument of General San Martin, on one end of the famous Florida St., Argentina's equivalent of Manhattan.

My own idea is to design the park as a green oasis cum cultural venue with a walking/jogging trail similar to Victoria Park in Hong Kong.

There is no doubt that the park would largely be landscaped greenery featuring Davao’s best in flora. However, the park must have some facilities too for cultural gatherings such as a small amphitheater, art gallery, and even a showcase tribal village.

This element will thread the park with its surroundings of four elementary schools. The main theme should still be educational, cultural and historical.

There must also be a trail for the regular walkers and joggers at the PTA. A space for tai chi exercises would be a plus.

Such amenities like park benches, snack bars, internet cafes, reading nooks, public phone booths, public toilets, drinking water fountains, etc. are necessary. Their design should all be minimalist and movable.

We need to incorporate water elements too. The recent redevelopment of a dead river in Seoul, Korea has now become a huge tourist attraction. It should not be as elaborate as the dancing fountains at the Bellagio, in Las Vegas. In the evenings, laser lights shows should mimic those in Sentosa Island, Singapore.

Cental Park it is not but the name surely rings a bell. Beside the sports grounds is the old Davao Central Elementary School, where I graduated in 1970. It was renamed in 1978 in honor of Kapitan Tomas Monteverde, one of the pioneering leaders of the city.

Also fitting, therefore, is to put up markers or monuments sparingly in the park to honor our founding fathers. My own suggestions are those for Monteverde, Rep. Romualdo Quimpo, father of the city charter, Gov. Vicente Duterte, the last governor of the undivided Davao Province, and Mayor Elias B. Lopez, the first Davao City-born city mayor.

A park is not a park without the people. Those entrusted to design and develop the park must always have this in mind. Parks are public spaces of the people, for the people and by the people.

(Submitted as Signs of the Times column article for Mindanao Times for March 22, 2006)


Blogger micketymoc said...

Hi. That's a great idea - but please please make sure you guys hire the right designers and not just kamag-anak ni kung sinu-sino. If you really want to make the park world-class, make sure you get the right people to implement it.

Nice blog - I was quite surprised to come across it. I'm Davao-born but living in Manila; nephew of the late Abog Robillo.

Good luck with this project.

8:24 AM  
Blogger ivanhenares said...

Congratulations councilor! I hope more cities realize the importance of having parks (not the tree-less ones) and mini-forests in order to raise the standard of living in Philippine cities.

12:42 PM  
Blogger micketymoc said...

Considering there are 4 schools nearby, how about integrating all the infrastructure into a single building, one housing a library as well? You could seek the help of Aklatang Pambata to help the city stock the library.

2:48 PM  
Blogger micketymoc said...

I think naming the park after Monteverde is the logical choice; after all, wasn't the land a donation from the Monteverde family?

If I might make a humble suggestion: how about naming it after the first CHief of Police of Davao, Isaac Robillo? (lolo ko kasi yun, hehehehe) :)

9:48 AM  
Blogger peterlavina said...

Di ba, your advice was very helpful.

Re naming the park after Monteverde would be politically controversial. The Monteverde's filed a case againt the city in an attempt to recover the PTA. Unfortunately, the courts, including the Supreme Court, decided that there was no evidence that the property was ever donated by the late Kap. Tomas Monteverde.
As to your lolo, not a bad suggestion.

11:07 AM  
Blogger abs said...

Gud day sir. I am very proud to have you as one of our city councilors of this great city of Davao. My sincerest hope and prayer for this project to be realized soon with your outstanding ideas be incorporated in it.

Davoenos only need offficials like you whose vision is for the betterment of Davao City. I think Mayor Duterte has made his best judgement in making you as his point man in this most anticipated project. As a davaoeno i am more than willing to render whatever help or assistance i can contribute in its fulfillment...tnx

9:45 PM  
Blogger abs said...

I hope that the other proposed projects of the city will be realized as well, giving priority to the sports complex that both the city and davaoenos has been longing for quite a long a time...the china town development, the planned development of Sta Ana Wharf, the Davao-Samal bridge, the develppment of IT/ICT business parks to mention few others.

I know that this entails gargantuan work, hardships and dedication but i am quite sure that with the political will of both the City HAll and the City Council all of these dreams will not be far from being realized.

10:05 PM  
Blogger abs said...

Sir, we, Davaoenos will appreciated it very much if you could give us updates on the progress of all those proposed projects...Tnx a lot sir...

10:13 PM  
Blogger ria said...

Since madaming suggestions for the name of the park, baka better if we name na lang different parts/areas of the park after different people. Like maybe the Robillo Ampitheatre, Monteverede Oval, etc.

12:34 AM  
Blogger rhems said...

sir, it doesn't take a sharp eyed sleuth to see that you got a lot of wonderful insights flaming behind your mind. im grateful we have one like you in the city.

i love the idea of transforming the almost barren pta grounds into a luscious park. but please consider making it world class. i've heard the city's budget for this project is more than 100 million. hope not a cent will be wasted.

3:26 PM  

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