Tree cut­ting made easy for gov projects

Sun.Star Baguio - - TOP STORIES - Maria Elena Cata­jan Sun*Star Re­porter

OB­SCURE trees in the way of gov­ern­ment road im­prove­ment projects will have to be cut.

Depart­ment Of En­vi­ron­ment And Nat­u­ral Re­sources forester Vic­to­ri­ano Bi­layan said a new or­der from Sec­re­tary Roy Ci­matu has made tree cut­ting for gov­ern­ment ap­proved de­vel­op­men­tal projects eas­ier by giv­ing au­thor­ity to the re­gional of­fice to is­sue tree cut­ting per­mits.

Bi­layan said the or­der stemmed from the dilemma of hav­ing

road widen­ing projects stalled or un­us­able be­cause of wait­ing time for cut­ting per­mits from the DENR na­tional of­fice for trees as­sessed and ap­proved to be deemed as ob­struc­tions to devel­op­ment.

Bi­layan said the case of the Camp Allen Park, which gave way to road widen­ing but is now used as park­ing is an ex­am­ple ex­plain­ing the cut­ting per­mits for the three trees in the area had to be sent to the of­fice of then Sec­re­tary Gina Lopez and un­til this time has no ap­proval.

To­day, the widen­ing has fin­ished and can­not be used as the trees had to be en­closed un­til ap­proval to cut has been given.

The re­quest for the Camp Allen area was made by the Baguio Fire Depart­ment cit­ing in time of emer­gency, they need to have wider ac­cess to the road for fire trucks.

The DENR was called on the sum­mons of Coun­cilor Elaine Sem­brano, com­mit­tee chair on en­vi­ron­ment be­cause of con­cerns of the coun­cil on road widen­ing projects which can­not be used be­cause of ex­ist­ing trees in the area and to shed light on pro­ce­dures done in devel­op­ment of roads and pub­lic fa­cil­i­ties where pine trees are to be cut, de­stroyed and up­rooted.

Bi­layan said if trees are deemed to ob­struc­tions then there is no re­course but to cut them or up­root if ap­pli­ca­ble, adding there is still no tech­nol­ogy to save the Benguet Pine Tree to this day.

Coun­cilor Faustino Olowan of­fered to do an un­der­tak­ing with the DPWH, DENR and the lo­cal coun­cil to make the process eas­ier as well as take into as­sess­ment the plight of trees to be re­moved for devel­op­ment projects in the fu­ture.

The mat­ter will be taken up by the com­mit­tee be­fore the coun­cil moves on the is­sue.

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