Tree cutting again?
PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero-Ballescas (The Freeman) - October 10, 2019 - 12:00am

Did not LGUs and agency officials of Naga and Carcar hear the September 20 and 27 Global Climate Strike strikers say that together they “will sound the alarm and show politicians that business as usual is no longer an option?”

Did these Cebu local officials not hear these words of young Greta Thunberg when she addressed the United Nations Climate Action Summit last September 23?

"This is all wrong. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!

"Fifty percent (chance of staying below 1.5 degrees [Celsius] may be acceptable to you. But a 50% risk is simply not acceptable to us — we who have to live with the consequences.

"To have a 67% chance of staying below a 1.5 degrees global temperature rise – the best odds given by the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] – the world had 420 gigatons of CO2 left to emit back on Jan. 1st, 2018. Today that figure is already down to less than 350 gigatons. How dare you pretend that this can be solved with just 'business as usual' and some technical solutions? With today's emissions levels, that remaining CO2 budget will be entirely gone within less than 8 1/2 years. You are failing us.”

In the midst of present climate emergency, do Cebu’s LGUs, DENR, DPWH, among others, even care that they are failing the youth and the children and the world by felling, cutting the trees near Capitol in Cebu City and in Naga?

When will they ever learn that trees are vital for our world, for our people? When will they remember that only God can make a tree? And when will they stop playing gods cutting and killing trees in exchange for widened roads?

When will the present officials take time to seriously study previous scientific assessment and agreements drawn up in 2014 about the stopping of tree cutting in Naga, San Fernando, and Carcar?

Naga City Engineering Office head Alpha Allojado may wish to consult the 2014 assessment of retired UPLB professor and tree pathologist Ernesto Militante and Dr. Roger Z. Guzman, a professional forester, a retired professor of the Isabela State University and former dean of its College of Forestry and Environmental Management, and refrain from reviving the misleading 2014 reason that the trees pose dangers for the people and therefore should be cut.

Below are some recommendations that include the advice that with proper remedies, maintenance and protection, the trees should be saved:

“1) DENR focused on the possibility of felling defective (deformed) trees rather than looking at the overall functions of the trees and their ecological importance. It is suggested that silvicultural remedies, maintenance and protection from injury as well as tree improvement be considered too. 2. It is the nature of raintrees (acacia) to have a widespread crown and also to host to diverse species of flora and fauna. Its naturally branching habit should not be misconstrued as deformities and the presence of symbiotic species as symptoms of disease; 3. Pruning of lower branches to balance the crown/canopy and reduce road obstruction should be part of regular road maintenance work for DPWH in coordination with the DENR and LGU; 4. The DPWH and the LGU may consider re-designing road improvement that will not impact significantly on existing structures and vegetation such as old-growth trees and other improvements like planted trees that are very close to the highway.” (To be continued)

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