Bus owners to DENR: Cut acacia trees now

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon, Jean Marvette A. Demecillo/RHM (The Freeman) - September 26, 2014 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The Cebu Provincial Bus Operators Association and Cebu South Mini-Bus Operators Association the other day submitted to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-7 a resolution urging the cutting of the trees along the highway in San Fernando town and the cities of Naga and Carcar.

 CPBOA and CSMBOA spokesperson Julieto Flores said the remaining trees at the portion of the highway from Naga to Carcar are highly dangerous to the riding public.

“The lives of the riding public are more important than that of the trees. We also want to protect our buses from accidents. The remaining trees have to be removed,” said Flores.

DENR-7 Information Officer Eddie Llamedo said the letter would be forwarded to DENR Secretary Ramon Paje for his action.

“We will send their letter to the secretary kay siya ra gyud ang maka-order ana kung ipadayon ba nga putlon ang mga (only the secretary can order whether or not to stop the cutting of the) remaining trees,” Llamedo said.

He said that aside from the bus and mini-bus operators, San Fernando Mayor Antonio “Abe” Canoy and Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III have expressed support in cutting down the trees for public safety reason.

Flores said that they themselves do not want to cut trees but the ones in question are putting the lives of the passengers and their buses in a very big risk.

“Puwede ra man na ibton ng mga kahoya (We can always remove those trees) and we will plant more trees somewhere else,” Flores added.

To recall, Paje issued a directive to DENR-7 Regional Executive Director Isabelo Montejo recalling the special tree cutting permit issued to the Department of Public Works and Highways-7 for the cutting and earth-balling of 154 trees from the first segment of the Naga-San Fernando road project.

Paje’s directive likewise denied the requests of DPWH on the cutting and removal of the trees from the second segment of the road project from the San Fernando to Carcar City section.

 Issued last October 3, 2013, the STCP numbered R7-05-09302013 allowed removal by cutting of 42 trees, including century-old acacia trees which are in advanced stage of decay and clearly posing danger to life and property; earth-balling of at least 96 trees with 25 centimeters and below in diameter; and no cutting of 16 acacia trees as they would be subjected to further tree surgery, correct pruning and rehabilitation of decayed branches and stubs.

Last July 26, a nine-hour traffic occurred in Barangay Perrelos, Carcar City and in Barangay Balud, San Fernando, Cebu when two century-old acacia trees fell down.

Llamedo added that forest pathologist Ernesto Militante will be in Cebu today and tomorrow to re-assess the acacia trees that were supposed to be cut down.

Not all environment advocates are also opposing the removal of the concerned trees.

A landscape architect from the Movement for Livable Cebu (MLC) yesterday assured that environmental groups would acknowledge the most recent testing result even if it translates to the cutting of trees.

“If it is a valid justification, I don’t see why we should continue to negate,” said architect Socorro Atega.

Atega said that the people need to have technical experts to guide them in making decisions when it comes to pursuing of cutting of trees.

She said that the presence of the tree pathologist would help in the mediation process among the environmental groups, the local government units, and other concerned stakeholders.

“Acacia trees are not really good to be planted along roadsides and in national highways especially when we consider the present situation,” she said, adding that the situation now lacks forward thinking.

She said that the lapses in the past should be learned and be applied accordingly.

Atega said appropriate trees to be planted along boulevards are narra trees, and banaba for smaller roads.  (FREEMAN)

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