By Jullie Y. Daza
The forest. . . it’s gone.
It was not so long ago when Quezon City owned a forest in the city, a thick circular park with a double ring of trees that, as they grew older, grew more majestic. We were proud of it, the park and its forest, its trees, its singular reputation in a world splashed grey with concrete.
The forest is gone. I could not believe my eyes when I went there last Thursday to buy flowers, only to discover that fresh flowers and living plants no longer have a place in this so-called park, aka Quezon City Memorial Circle. Where did those beautiful trees go? Over the course of a decade and the administration of two mayors the forest has been scalped, slaughtered of its kingly treasures in living green. Instead of trees there are now structures, as permanent as human intervention can make them. Dust and dry soil make the floor, where once grass cushioned feet and soles. The forest is gone, only a bald, cheap, ugly, shadeless “park” is left – for goodness’ sake, a park to park hundreds of cars.
In the sneakiest, most scandalous theft of the century, the city has lost its only crown jewel. How do we take back the park, the green one, and throw out its horrid twin? When the silent massacre began – ironically, the shade provided by the trees hid the deed of greed – little voices of concern were easy to ignore. Little voices vs big shots?
Can you trust politicians and their sense of beauty? The result of 10 years of a creeping massacre of the trees was glaringly exposed last Saturday, when 16,000 students gathered at QCMC for a Guinness event. What a painful sight for the drone taking pictures up in the sky, to capture what was once a forest now stripped to the bone! On the ground, photographers took pity on the students who sat around the treeless, leafless circle. The sun beat down mercilessly on their bare heads – Their Honors the mayor, vice mayor, mindless lawmakers, and councilors without counsel should have been there to feel the heat and assure the young people, “Enjoy your park, this is where your parents’ taxes went, this is the improved version!”
The killing of the forest is a crime against nature, a sin against humanity. Demand retribution? From the same soulless entities who signed the death sentence?