Cebu News

WT needs P1.7M to replace trees

Kristine B. Quintas/FPL - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - The contractor in the ongoing rehabilitation of the Sergio Osmeña Boulevard which is accused of illegally uprooting 88 indigenous trees in the center island would need to spend at least P1.7 million to replace the missing trees.

Librando Macaraya, executive director of the Cebu City Parks and Playground Commission, yesterday told the members of the City Council during an executive session that the species were mostly fire trees which cost P20,000 each.

WT Construction which is undertaking the P289 million rehabilitation project has been accused of unauthorized uprooting of trees. Engineer Adolfo Quiroga, WT consultant, said the company is willing to replace the trees.

Quiroga wrote a letter to Department of Public Works and Highways-7 director Ador Canlas to express this intention.

"We have also informed the Cebu City government that we are open to replacing the trees even if we did not have a hand in their removal or cutting," Quiroga said.

Macaraya said that expressing its willingness to replace the missing trees is already an admission that WT Construction was indeed responsible for its illegal uprooting.

"Replacing the trees is tantamount of admitting that they are the one who did it," Macaraya said.

 Besides, it was also part of  the contract price for the contractor to earth ball the trees and help the city government in relocating them.

Nevertheless, Macaraya is amenable to allowing the contractor to just replace the trees rather than going to court.

"Time element has to be considered also because the International Eucharistic Congress is already fast approaching. These trees would be a big help sa IEC. Kun magkaso-kaso maabtan pa og tuig usa pa mailisan ang kahoy," he explained.

Macaraya pointed out that there is also a discrepancy in the inventory of the trees.

Forester Filemon Embalzado Jr. of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources said there were only 79 trees illegally removed and 66 remaining trees based on their data at hand. But, the parks and playground commission said, DENR did not include in its inventory the small trees with three centimeter in diameter.

During yesterday's executive session, the city councilors, representatives from DWPH-7, CENRO-DENR, Parks and Playground Commission, City Command Center (C3), among others, watched the CCTV footages purportedly showing the uprooting of the trees.

There was no representative of the contractor during the session.

"We regret to inform you that we are unable to attend the session for the reason that the DENR is already in the midst of an on-going investigation on the matter and is poised to file the appropriate charges before the court," Quiroga said, explaining their absence.

 "Since the courts are the final arbiters of the guilt or innocence of our firm and its personnel, we, with all due respect, have opted to explain our side and defend ourselves in the proper tribunals where the charges would be filed," he added.

 Embalzado said DENR is still collating and finalizing the necessary judicial affidavits and evidences to substantiate the complaint.

The City Council has also requested the executive department to file a case because the trees are city-owned and the crime was committed in the jurisdiction of the city.

 Mayor Michael Rama said he will wait for the City Legal Office to submit its investigation report on the matter.  (FREEMAN)

vuukle comment











  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with