Group op­poses plan to cut trees along BRT routes

Cebu Daily News - - NEWS - X AV I E R U N I V E R S I T Y IN­TERN APRIL ALEXIS B. AGUSTIN

A CIVIL so­ci­ety group called on the Cebu City gov­ern­ment not to cut the 2,166 trees along the routes cov­ered by the Bus Rapid Tran­sit (BRT) project, say­ing the trees have been in­te­gral in pro­tect­ing the city from pol­lu­tion.

In a state­ment, the Pusyon Ki­naiya­han said it op­posed the cut­ting of the trees since “it is not a sign of true devel­op­ment.”

“We both can­not sac­ri­fice the in­te­gral val­ues that our trees of­fer us in Cebu City: eco­log­i­cally, cul­tur­ally and aes­thet­i­cally,” said Bro. Jaazeal Jakos­alem, OAR, USJ-R prop­erty ad- min­is­tra­tor.

Jakos­alem said a “struc­tural so­lu­tion” is needed to solve the city’s traf­fic prob­lems, but they rec­og­nize that the BRT can par­tially ad­dress the de­mand for an ef­fi­cient mass trans­port sys­tem.

Run­ning priest Fr. Robert Reyes ear­lier asked the Cebu City gov­ern­ment not to cut down the trees.

He said he plans to tie white rib­bons around the trees to in­vite city res­i­dents to help pro­tect them.

Last Wed­nes­day, BRT project man­age­ment chief Rafael Yap said the city gov­ern­ment will en­sure the sur­vival of the trees that will be earth­balled and trans­planted into tree nurs­eries in the city.

Cebu City En­vi­ron­ment and Nat­u­ral Re­sources Of­fice (CENRO) staffer Joselito Ba­clayon said based on their ex­pe­ri­ence, their earth­balling re­sulted in a 100 per­cent sur­vival rate of the trans­planted trees.

Jakos­alem said the BRT project pro­po­nents should con­sider the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact caused by the loss of trees and the dis­place­ment of jeep­ney driv­ers.

Com­pared to neigh­bor- ing coun­tries in Asia that pre­serve the trees along roads, Jakos­alem said peo­ple are try­ing to kill trees for devel­op­ment in Cebu City.

“We want peo­ple devel­op­ment, not ur­ban devel­op­ment. We have turned our city into mega-struc­tures, sep­a­rat­ing the liv­abil­ity of com­mu­ni­ties,” Jakos­alem said.

Jakos­alem said a longterm devel­op­ment ap­proach is needed that is ben­e­fi­cial to both com­mu­ni­ties and the busi­ness sec­tor./

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