Press Release
November 24, 2007

Villar bill seeks to rehabilitate Rizal Park into a world-famous
pro-environment haven

If New York can maintain its famous Central Park, London its resplendent Hyde Park, and Paris its celebrated Jardin des Tuileries, why can't Manila city match such internationally-acclaimed attractions with a fully-refurbished Rizal Park in Luneta.

With this in mind, Senate President Manny Villar has filed a bill that seeks to rehabilitate the now-deteriorating Rizal Park and convert it into a citizen-friendly ecological, tourist and cultural site that can be compared with the famous park attractions in key cities around the world.

Villar filed Senate Bill 1801 that proposes the creation of a ten-year Luneta Park Green Modernization Program to make the area a haven of greens and trees.

Villar proposed the re-greening, modernization and promotion of the total development of Luneta Park to achieve the status of a citizen-friendly ecological, tourist and cultural site.

"Luneta must be revived as a modern green park with lush and healthy environment. It is the aim of this legislation to make Luneta Park comparable to Central Park in New York, Hyde Park in London or Jardin des Tuileries in Paris," Villar said.

The 53-hectare Luneta Park is a symbol not just of Manila but also of the country's heritage. It is at the northern end of Roxas Boulevard in the heart of Manila, overlooking Manila Bay. It was called Bagumbayan in Spanish colonial era, and later known as Luneta.

The park was the site of Jose Rizal's execution on December 30, 1896, whose martyred death made him a hero of the Philippine Revolution. It was officially renamed Rizal Park in tribute to him. The monument also serves as the point of origin or Kilometer zero to all other cities in the Philippines.

Villar lamented that the once impressive park has become a refuge for vagrants. "In the past, the itinerary of educational trips or family outings used to include a visit to the Luneta Park. Now it's a dangerous place ought to be avoided," Villar said.

The Rizal Park boasts of an Orchidarium, the Japanes Park, the public hall featuring the Concerts at the Park, Planetarium and a replica of the Philippine archipelago in the middle of a man-made lake. Under the Villar Bill, the amount of P100 million from the combined earnings of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes is initially appropriated for the purpose of the Park's rehabilitation.

Villar's passion for preserving and protecting the environment is evident in his works as public sevant. As Speaker of the House, he principally authored and steered the passage of the Clean Air Act. When he was representative of Las Piñas and Zapote river rehabilitation called "Sagip Ilog" and a tree-planting project called "Pagtatanim para sa Kinabukasan". Villar also spearheaded the creation of the Bambusetum, a nursery showcasing the different varieties of bamboo to prevent soil erosion in the river and to educate the public on the benefits of bamboo trees.

News Latest News Feed