CH wants P1.7M for missing trees

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Monday, April 14, 2014


THE Cebu City Parks and Playgrounds Commission wants WT Construction to pay P1.7 million for the 88 trees that have gone missing along S. Osmeña Blvd.

This was disclosed by the commission’s executive director Dr. Librado Macaraya when he appeared before the City Council in an executive session yesterday.

Macaraya demanded payment so the missing trees will be replaced. He said each of the trees, most of which were more than 10-years-old already, cost P15,000 to P20,000.

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Macaraya said there is a need for the trees to be replaced, considering that the City Government is preparing for the January 2016 International Eucharistic Celebration (IEC)

The trees along S. Osmeña Blvd., which is being renovated by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), are supposed to be earth-balled and transferred to the Plaza Independencia and the Senior Citizens Park.

Now that they are missing, Macaraya said they have to be replaced so they can already start the beautification of the Plaza Independencia.

The plaza will be the venue for the opening of the IEC. The activity is expected to gather 25,000 people.

Three days after the opening, Macaraya said there will be a procession from Fuente Osmeña Rotunda up to Plaza Independencia.

“So we really have to beautify the plaza. The trees will improve the facilities’ aesthetic aspect,” he said.

Asked if the City Government won’t be filing a case against WT, who allegedly earthballed the trees without permission from and supervision by the commission and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Macaraya said it will be up to the executive department or the DENR.

But if he has his way, Macaraya said he would prefer that WT replace the trees and avoid a legal battle because it will only delay the project at S. Osmeña Blvd. and the beautification of the plaza.

“The IEC is just only two years away. Kung kasohon pa, madugay-dugay gyud na (A case
takes a long time),” he said.

Filemon Embalzado of DENR, who also appeared before the council yesterday, said that the agency’s legal division is already doing the paper works for the filing of a case against WT.

DENR records

On how many trees along S. Osmeña went missing, Macaraya said that based on their records, there are a total of 88 trees out of 171 trees along the road.

He said that DENR records, though, showed there are only 79 trees that went missing out of 145 trees.

The discrepancies, Macaraya said, is because DENR did not count the newly planted trees that the commission planted in the area.

Representatives of WT did not appear before the council yesterday.

In a letter they sent, WT consultant Adolfo Quiroga said DENR will already be filing a case in the court against them and they would want to explain their side on the proper courts.

Any information they will give the council, he said, might affect DENR’s investigation on the matter.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 15, 2014.

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