Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Thursday, March 05, 2009

366 trees to be incorporated in the hotel-casino project in SBMA

The 366 centuries-old trees that were originally set to be felled to give way to a proposed casino-hotel and golf course at Subic Freeport will be spared by the South Korean developer commissioned to implement the project.

At a congressional hearing yesterday, Eric Park, manager of Gran Utopia Corporation, assured the Lower House members that he will alter the development plan of the project to incorporate trees into the structures his firm will put up.

Park appeared at the hearing conducted by the House Committee on Bases Conversion to clarify accusations that the proposed project, to be financed by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), would include the cutting of 366 trees, most of which are endangered species.

The SBMA, headed by administrator Armand Arreza, reportedly did not object to the original plan, although Park admitted that it may still be revised to save the trees.

Park categorically said their company would be amenable to the proposal of Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga to incorporate the 366 endangered trees in its development plan rather than cutting them.

“We could alter the development plan as long as we are allowed to pursue this project,” Park told the panel.

Architect Felino Palafox Jr., the urban planner who exposed SBMA’s consent to the tree cutting, insisted earlier that the idea is highly feasible, as his architectural firm had designed in several of its projects. Manila Bulletin

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