Remembering PTA

The uproar over the cutting down of trees at the Clifford Park in Roxas Avenue reverberated around so much as to elicit immediate response and action from city officials.

Thanks to social media, the issue generated massive sympathy.

It was indeed a woeful sight to see the trees at the park gone with just sweeps of a chainsaw from what was supposed to be a plan to rehabilitate this patch of recreational and relaxation area couched right at the very heart of the city. But the ill-advised cutting cut through the hearts of people who have marvelled at the beauty of these trees amidst concrete structures.

For sure, it also cut through the fortress of environmental consciousness as one of the city’s last lines of defense against global warming and climate change are knocked down haplessly.

Why? Netizens asked.

Yesterday, Mayor Sara Duterte issued an apology. The city government was to rehabilitate Clifford Park in order to make it hold more people and update its amenities for park users. The problem is, there was no clear instruction not to cut the trees. And so overzealous workers, unaware of its repercussions to the environment and the value of those trees, sprang to the site and buzzsawed the poor trees.

In a sweep, the trees are gone.

Mayor Duterte promised to plant trees again in the park as part of its redevelopment plan.

This incident brings back memories of the old Palaruang Lungsod or the PTA sports complex. Had social media presence been as intense as it is now, would the  PTA be saved too from being converted to what is now the People’s Park? Perhaps it will not change the decision but maybe the sports and fitness component may still be integrated in the design.

Back then, the old PTA was home to the country’s football team, then the reigning national champions. It was also home to joggers, collegiate athletes, tennis club, baseball and softball players and anyone into fitness. The afternoons at the old PTA were festive and teeming with sweat-drenched men and women, and children as well. Without an active venue for expression, there was no way those who wished to keep the remaining open space in the city could stop from the impending redevelopment. The PTA was eventually lost.

That was then. Davao City has forgotten PTA and have embraced People’s Park.

Like the PTA, this latest environmental misdeed to Clifford Park will also be forgotten once the redevelopment is done. But the wounds it endured from the loss of its trees will linger for now.