A farewell to Manila Seedling Bank?

The Urban Roamer wrote an entry on this blog more than two years ago about the Manila Seedling Bank, one of the few remaining green spaces in the metropolis that is home to different varieties of flora that are being displayed and/or sold. In particular, I lauded the place and the organization behind it, Manila Seedling Bank Foundation, (MSBF) for being stalwarts of environmental awareness in the midst of the urban sprawl that has already affected the environment in a negative manner, hoping it would keep on doing its job for years to come.

Unfortunately, sad news broke out on December 9, 2013 when the Quezon City government ordered the closure of the Manila Seedling Bank complex for the reason of non-payment of property taxes of the said property for years, thus moving to take over the property itself. As this time while I am writing this, the city government has allowed the complex to stay open until the end of the year so vendors there can hold their clearance sales.

As for an alternative for the soon-to-be-closed Manila Seedling Bank, the city government has offered an area in the Quezon Memorial Complex dedicated to flora. In fact, it has been encouraging the Manila Seedling Bank vendors to relocate there instead which the government claims is an area bigger than the present complex.

On the other end, there is the Manila Seedling Bank Foundation, the tenants, as well as the National Housing Authority (NHA) by its side saying the move of the Quezon City government was illegal and reeks of harassment because the property itself is a highly valued piece of real estate that the city government would like to earn from by selling it to developers. Incidentally, the property itself is within the vicinity of a planned Quezon City Commercial and Business District that is being built in the North-East Triangle area. In addition, the land itself should not be paying real estate tax under the terms of the original agreement that made the establishment of the Manila Seedling Bank complex possible.

Whatever will be the outcome of this story, it is itself a sad story to hear. More than ever, the need for environmental awareness is much more vital to heed, and it will be an utter shame if one of the groups that have long been an advocate of such cause is in danger itself. The least we can do is to hope and pray that this will be resolved in a satisfactory manner. Until the, the struggle for environmental awareness and protection still continues and we must all do our part for it.

© The Urban Roamer

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