By Keith Anthony S. Fabro
The Brooke’s Point municipal government launched Thursday, March 21, the Adopt-a-Step program that would get locals to help in developing the town’s Ecological Park in Barangay Tubtub.
Mayor Mary Jean Feliciano said the project would encourage the residents to invest in eco-tourism development through voluntarily donating P1,500 for every stair step ascending to the view deck atop the iconic Mt. Maruyog.
“The local government has already invested here, as well as in other tourist destinations around the town. Now, I want the people of Brooke’s Point to invest, too. I am grateful many have pledged support to adopt steps here in our Eco Park,” she said.
The construction of donated paved stairs is seen as an added attraction to the Eco Park, one of the rising tourist attractions in town. So far, over a hundred concrete steps have been put in place, and most of those who have donated are municipal government officials, department chiefs and their staff.
“The launching of adopt-a-step program aims to encourage pubic participation. It helps develop a sense of belongingness and ownership among the local people,” said Rebecca Gadayan, town general services officer, who’s one of the brains behind the project.
“Those who want to reach the view deck to get panoramic views of Brooke’s Point would now find the going easier, unlike before when it usually erodes and gets muddy come rainy season,” she added.
Although conceptualized as early as late 1990s, Eco Park’s development only commenced in 2017, with the construction of an access road, an information center and handrails. Visitors, meanwhile, are welcome to bask in the lush greeneries while having a daytime picnick or overnight camping here.
Since 2018, Eco Park has seen reforestation efforts through the local government-led annual tree planting activity. Among the species that had been planted here are Narra and Mahogany.
“With the establishment of this Eco Park comes its protection and conservation. I hope we can bring back the trees that were cut down in some of its portions that had been subjected to slash and burn farming,” the mayor said.
Feliciano, meanwhile, called on the environment department to fast track the mapping of mountains in Brooke’s Point to guide the indigenous people on the portions where they can only practice their slash and burn farming culture. “This is to ensure the preservation of the remaining natural forests of Brooke’s Point,” she added.