CENRO: No tree cutting permit for Carcar
Cabrido asked the Court of Appeals in Cebu City to direct DENR and DPWH to cease and desist from implementing all tree cutting permits nationwide and to stop the ongoing cutting, removal, or pruning operations in the country.
AFP/Ted Aljibe, File
CENRO: No tree cutting permit for Carcar
Grace Melanie I. Lacamiento, Lorraine L. Ecarma (The Freeman) - October 16, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The Community Environment Resources Office (CENRO) in Argao clarified yesterday that it has not issued a tree cutting permit in Carcar City, contrary to reports that have circulated.

Percival Fiel, officer-in-charge of CENRO, said they have issued only one permit, which is for Naga City and which covers 32 trees.

"There is no cutting of trees in Carcar," he said.

He said the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has requested for a permit for Carcar but CENRO did not issue one yet pending the petition for the issuance of a Writ of Kalikasan with urgent prayer for issuance of a Temporary Protection Order filed by lawyer Benjamin Cabrido.

Cabrido asked the Court of Appeals in Cebu City to direct DENR and DPWH to cease and desist from implementing all tree cutting permits nationwide and to stop the ongoing cutting, removal, or pruning operations in the country.

Cabrido’s petition stemmed from DPWH’s decision to cut trees on M. Velez Street, Barangay Capitol Site and nine other trees on F. Sotto Drive from Gorordo Avenue to Maxilom Avenue for ongoing road widening projects.

The court has yet to issue a resolution.

Fiel said that as of yesterday, the trees in City of Naga were only trimmed, not cut.

"Ang trimming, gikuhaan og sanga nga dagko kay masakiton ang tree, putlon ang iyang sanga kay kuyaw mahulogan ang mga mangagi nga sakyanan. Ang cutting giputol na ang trunk, ang trimming limited sa branches," he said.

Fiel said they will issue a tree cutting permit if it is found that the tree is hazardous to public safety.

Such authority given to CENRO, he said, as provided by law, the Presidential Decree No. 953.

Thirty-two trees of various species in Barangays Langtad, Inoburan, and Tinaan are covered by the said tree cutting permit to pave way for the government’s road widening project.

This is subject to the condition that DPWH replaces the trees with 1,600 seedlings to be donated and delivered to CENRO in support of the national greening program and climate change initiatives of the government.

The logs/timber that will be recovered shall be turned over to CENRO for proper jurisdiction.

Fiel said the Department of Education or local government unit may request for the wood materials to be used in building schools and other projects.

Meanwhile, Cabrido shrugged off comments of DPWH-7 chief legal officer Brando Ray Raya who said that it is DPWH that has authority to say that a tree within the limits of a national road must be cut for public safety.

Raya in his Facebook post told all DPWH legal officers not to be afraid in cutting down the trees covered by permits acquired from DENR.

"Let him gloat. All I feel for him and those like him is pity and sadness. I certainly don't mind his antrophogenic bravado. But nature certainly will," Cabrido said.


Meanwhile, the Kabataan Partylist organized two simultaneous protest actions at the DENR-7 building and in Naga City to amplify their call against the cutting of century-old trees in Naga and Carcar.

Kabataan Partylist Cebu Spokesperson and University of the Philippines Cebu Student Council Chairperson Aura Agbay she said the move to cut the trees down is a manifestation of the government’s idea of government is not for all sectors of society.

“Unsa man pud ang ilahang gibuhat para pud ma-ammend ang pag cut. Wala may move karon ang mga permittees para maalisdan ang trees nga ilang gi cut-down,” Agbay said.

She added that the youth groups involved in the protests also see the cutting of trees as a step towards road-widening, which will also displace the livelihood of many.

“Ang nakita man gyud sa youth groups kay gihimo niya siyang excuse for road-widening,” Agbay said.

“Di man ta necessarily against the road-widening but we’re against the development that’s not genuinely for the people,” she added.

Kabataan Patylist Rep. Sarah Elago also filed a resolution in Congress against the tree cutting. A petition is also being circulated by the youth group online and in campuses, which has already garnered around 26,000 signatures in its first week.

Resolution No. 436 “strongly urges” DPWH  not to push through with the plan and urges CENRO to revoke the permit it issued.

She said they wish for DPWH to proceed with the road widening project “but not at the expense of iconic South Cebu trees, the people and the planet.” (FREEMAN)

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