Senior BM Manotoc reiterates importance of shared spaces for families' well-being, mental healthApr 06, 2018
At least 9 more children's parks to be placed this year
In line with the provincial vision set forth by Ilocos Norte Governor Imee R. Marcos for a more "livable, sustainable, and resilient" home for Ilocanos, Senior Board Member Matthew Marcos Manotoc emphasized: "Talagang importante yung public spaces – not just for the community, but for families, and even for individuals.
The creation of public playgrounds, shared recreational spaces, and community fitness parks is pegged on the "livable" pillar of provincial development together with peace and order as prerequisites:
The first children's-playground-cum-fitness-park was opened in Laoag City, in front of the Provincial Capitol, last December 2016. Since then, four more have been put up in Batac City and in the towns of Badoc, Bacarra, and Dingras.
Aside from seesaws, slides, and swings, the parks also feature simple exercise equipment like waist trainers, bicep presses, and steering wheels. Hence, the parks are "three-generational," where young children can engage in active, outdoor play alongside their older peers and even the elderly, who have the option of doing a light workout.
"It's been shown that it has physiological and psychological effects; that humans are happier around nature," said Manotoc, who also advocates physical fitness and initiated the inclusion of athletic scholarships as a service under the Provincial Education Department.
He added, "Hopefully, we can create more of these green spaces that can contribute to health and subsequently, yung productivity ng mga tao natin – and not just physical health, but also mental health."
So far, the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) has a budget prepared for nine additional parks, but the beneficiary towns have yet to be identified because they are still coordinating with the Department of Education (DepEd).
DepEd has a similar project of an estimated 12 parks to be constructed in beneficiary schools, according to Manotoc.
"Since limited yung funds, sana we can find an agreement para ma-share naman; para hindi madoble," he explained. "Fina-finalize pa namin yung venues depending doon sa decision ng Governor and DepEd as to the recipients of the playgrounds."
Manotoc still hopes that an agreement can be reached between the PGIN and DepEd; that is, if the beneficiary school of a DepEd playground is located at the center of a town, there will be efforts to make this the town's public playground so that the budget allotment of the PGIN can be used to construct a playground in more municipalities not included among the DepEd recipient-schools.
"Sana maging open sila na ang school playground nila ay magiging public playground din, and maybe the municipal government can help with the security and lighting, para at least ma-share naman," he said, assuring that target implementation is within this year.