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In City of Naga, San Fernando 10 heritage trees up for cutting

Jessa Agua (The Freeman) - July 24, 2014 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - At least 10 defective and dead century-old acacia trees in the City of Naga and San Fernando town will be cut as soon as possible because of the danger it pose to the vehicles and commuters passing along the national highway.

In a technical conference held yesterday, Forest Management Services regional technical director Eduardo Inting said there is an urgency to remove these trees.

Seven acacia trees in Naga City plus three in San Fernando town, both in southern Cebu were found by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to be dangerous. Based on the DENR tree inventory and assessment, these trees are recommended for “immediate cutting” because of its deteriorating health condition worsened by indiscriminate nailing of tarpaulins and banners.

Along with seven acacia trees are 35 other tree species that could no longer be salvaged by earth-balling or tree surgery and need to be removed. In San Fernando, 41 tree species were also advised for immediate cutting including three century-old acacia trees.

A tree cutting permit has been issued last year for the trees in Naga due to the first phase of south-bound road widening project but was deferred because of opposition from environment advocates.

But with the recent incident of an acacia tree falling in Barangay Balud, San Fernando, DENR pushed for the sanitation cutting of these trees to avoid the occurrence of similar case that could harm or even kill those near the fallen tree.

“We would like to appeal to the public for understanding. We understand the heritage value of these trees but we cannot set aside public safety since these trees have been found to be hazardous to the national highway especially with reports of coming typhoons. We want to be as transparent as possible,” Inting said.

As agreed during the conference, stakeholders involved will go hand-in-hand in executing the sanitation cutting of trees. The city government of Naga will provide trucks and manpower, particularly chainsaw operator.

The provincial government has also pledged assistance in terms of equipment needed in pruning and cutting of the trees.

Since the tree cutting permit for Naga has already lapsed, DENR-7 is tasked to apply for its extension in order to finalize the schedule of cutting, which is dependent on the approval of the central office because Executive Order 23 prohibits issuance of permits except from the office of the environment secretary.

As required by law, every cut tree must be replaced with 100 seedlings and the DENR as well as the concerned private groups will primarily monitor the survival of every tree.

The same roadside will be the site for the tree planting and the rest will be at the designated tree plantation of DENR to be identified by CENRO.

Representatives from Naga City and San Fernando town, environment group Philippine Earth Justice Center also attended the conference yesterday. The Department of Public Works and Highways was supposed to be in the meeting but no one showed up.

PEJC initially opposed the cutting of heritage trees in the south but has recently approved of the sanitation considering the trees were found to be dead and posing danger to passing commuters and pedestrians. – (FREEMAN)

BARANGAY BALUD CITY OF NAGA AND SAN FERNANDO CUTTING DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS AND HIGHWAYS EDUARDO INTING EXECUTIVE ORDER FOREST MANAGEMENT SERVICES SAN FERNANDO TREE TREES
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