In San Fernando 41 unhealthy trees to be cut

Jessa Agua (The Freeman) - July 20, 2014 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - At least 41 unhealthy trees along the road in the southern town of San Fernando will be cut off after authorities found out they pose a danger to the public.

The recommendation from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources  came after the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office – Cebu City inspected the five-kilometer highway in the south.

 Of the 41 trees, three are century-old trees labeled by DENR as numbered 200, 237, and 238 with 174 centimeters (cm.), 104 cm., and 118 cm., respectively, which reportedly needs to be removed immediately.

 “We urged the Department of Public Works and Highways and the local government of San Fernando to pursue the cutting of these trees with our personnel as they were found out to be defective or diseased,” said DENR-7 Executive Director Dr. Isabelo R. Montejo.

 Montejo said a thorough assessment and inventory on the trees’ health status is a step forward to ensuring public safety as some trees pose imminent danger to life and property.

 CENRO Cebu City forester Filemon Embalzado Jr. led the inspection team from Barangays Pitalo, South Poblacion, Luknay, Panadtaran and Balud. As of yesterday, about 141 trees, mostly Acacia, Chicos, Mahogany, Gmelina, Bagalunga, Binunga, Narra, Molave, Talisay, Calachuche, Dita and Indian trees, were assessed.

 Out of 141, about 41 trees were recommended to be cut or removed as their trunks and basal portions near the root are on advanced decay.

“Most of the trees have deep nails embedded on their trunks which hasten the tree to have contacted with diseases which is one of the reasons why we have defective trees along the roads,” Montejo said. 

He urged barangays to keep a close watch and be vigilant in monitoring trees within their jurisdiction by instituting proper silvicultural treatment of correct pruning.

 Similarly, Montejo issued last July 11 regional special order  number 447 series of 2014 creating a team to conduct an inventory and assessment of hazardous trees within Metro Cebu area.

 The 12-member team is led by Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Jose Cleo Cary Colis with CENR Officer Cebu City Anastacio Cabalejo; foresters Embalzado Jr., Leo Remitar, Joselito Sumabat, and representatives from the concerned LGU, non-government organizations, academe, environmental lawyers, religious sector, and media, as members.

 The team is tasked to perform the following functions: conduct inventory and assessment of trees especially those found in parks, and roadsides to determine if defective and needs rehabilitation or should be cut because it poses hazard to lives and properties; give categorical recommendation on appropriate silvicultural treatment or rehabilitation measures that will help minimize risk, enhance aesthetic value, restore ecological function and lengthen the life of tree.

  Assessment was conducted in Naga City, San Fernando, Carcar City, and Sibonga. It was undertaken to determine which trees are over-mature, diseased or defective and pose hazards to lives and properties so that sanitary cutting or surgery can be done immediately.

 An acacia tree that was almost a century old with a diameter of 145 centimeters and about 15 meters in height along the national road fell down in Barangay Balud, San Fernando and caused traffic.

Montejo said putting up of streamers and tarpaulins and other advertising materials on trees especially when using iron nails and other destructive practices like burning within the basal portion of the tree can damage the health condition of the trees severely.

 According to Section 3 of Republic Act number 3571, no cutting, destroying, or injuring of planted or growing trees, flowering plants and shrubs or plants of scenic value along public roads, in plazas, parks other than national parks, school premises or in any other public ground shall be permitted.

 Also, Presidential Decree number 953 provides a similar prohibition in section 3 mentioning a punishment of imprisonment for not less than six months and more than two years, or a fine of less than five hundred pesos and not more than five thousand pesos, or with both at the discretion of the court.  (FREEMAN)


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