Capitol freezes use of Balili property
Michael Vencynth H. Braga /FPL (The Freeman) - March 13, 2015 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The controversial Balili property in Barangay Tinaan, City of Naga cannot accommodate a required tree planting activity by the Department of Public Works and Highways-7 to replace the missing 79 trees at the center island on Sergio Osmeña Boulevard.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources-7 has required DPWH-7 to plant 100 seedlings as replacement of the trees that went missing while the agency’s contractor was undergoing road repair.

Both DENR and DPWH officials in the region identified the Balili property as tree planting site.

 However, lawyer Czareem Joseph Estella, chief of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office, said that the property cannot be utilized for any government project pending the resolution of the case involving the property.

Estella said the provincial legal office has advised not to utilize the property because it is still subject of litigation before the Sandiganbayan.

In fact, the Department of Agriculture officials have offered to establish a training facility in the property but they could not do it for the same reason.

“Di sa gyod pahilabtan ang Balili. Di pa sa pwede patamnan especially daghan kaayo ang kahoy so mapuno gyod siya,” Estella said.

The DPWH-7 could not continue with the earth-balling activity of the remaining 20 trees at the center island of S. Osmeña Boulevard unless the required tree planting is complied with because of the existing cease and desist order issued by the DENR-7.

Estella, however, said the province will look for other viable sites where the tree planting could be undertaken. He offered the province’s properties in Barangay Inayagan in the same city and an 18-hectare lot in Carmen town.

He added that they are just waiting for a formal request from the DENR and DPWH.

“But if dunay communication rest assured nga among pangitaan og proper nga place. The province is willing to aid the (Cebu) City and DENR if there is request, but karon wa pa man,” he told reporters.

He made it clear that it is still the discretion of Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III whether or not to allow the utilization of the Barili property for the tree planting.

But he said he could not confer with the governor on the matter yet because the latter is currently out of the country to attend the third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction which will be held from March 14 to 18, 2015 in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan.

With Davide’s absence, Vice Governor Agnes Magpale sits as acting governor.  (FREEMAN)

BALILI BARANGAY INAYAGAN BARANGAY TINAAN CEBU GOVERNOR HILARIO DAVIDE CITY OF NAGA CZAREEM JOSEPH ESTELLA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES ESTELLA
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