Culprits behind illegally cut trees unidentified yet
Kristine B. Quintas/NSA (The Freeman) - December 15, 2015 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Personalities involved in cutting down about 1000 trees in Toledo City without permit are still unidentified.

A closed-door administrative proceeding was conducted yesterday to supposedly identify the culprits of the illegal cutting of the trees within the 113- hectare private land, which is currently developed into a solar energy power plant. 

But officers of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office-Cebu City failed to get the names of those persons liable from the counsels of Sun Asia Energy Incorporated (SAEI) and First Toledo Solar Energy Corporation, and counsel of Allan Navales of Hacienda Baltao in Barangay Talavera.

“Di g’yud na sila moangkon,” CENRO-Cebu City head and forester Raul Pasoc told reporters after the proceeding. 

Pasoc said the counsels even questioned the technicalities of the proceeding, which prompted CENRO hearing officer Forester Nolito Lapinig to require the counsel and their clients to submit their position papers. 

This is in preparation for the possible administrative complaints against the contractors and developer of the solar project allegedly for indiscriminately cutting trees. The complaints would be endorsed to the Regional Director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources through the legal division. 

The position papers, Pasoc said, will not merit and affect the criminal complaint filed against the board of directors of private firms. The complaint was filed before the Toledo City Prosecutor’s Office. 

According to Pasoc, the counsels promised to submit the papers next week. 

The DENR 7 filed criminal complaints against the SunAsia Energy Corp. (SEI) board of directors, the Sta. Clara International Corp. board of directors and First Toledo Solar Energy Corp. (FTSEC) manager Sammy Baybay, Gino Baltao and Navales for cutting nearly a thousand trees, some of them around 100 years old. 

Moreover, Pasoc said the cease and desist order on operations inside the 113-hectare property in Barangay Talavera will remain in force until respondents secure tree cutting permits. 

He also stressed that the firm is barred from cutting the remaining trees in its property. 

“We conducted our own inventory and the trees that are remaining standing are already geo-tagged. So we will know if they will be cut without our permission,” he said, adding that the firm is conducting its inventory to acquire cutting permit for the remaining trees. 

SEI aims to complete this renewable energy facility, 200,000 high-grade solar panels, on Feb. 15 next year. — (FREEMAN)

ACIRC ALLAN NAVALES OF HACIENDA BALTAO BARANGAY TALAVERA CEBU CITY CLARA INTERNATIONAL CORP COMMUNITY ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES OFFICE-CEBU CITY CUTTING ENERGY CORP FIRST TOLEDO SOLAR ENERGY CORP NBSP PASOC
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