DENR 7 begs City for copy of ‘tree’ video

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Friday, July 11, 2014


THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7 has asked the Cebu City Government to already release a copy of the closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage showing the removal of trees along S. Osmeña Blvd. at the North Reclamation Area.

This, following the subpoena issued by Prosecutor II Rogelio del Prado of the Office of the City Prosecutor on the case filed by DENR against officials of WT Construction Inc.

In a letter to Mayor Michael Rama, DENR 7 Executive Director Rogelio Montejo said the subpoena issued by del Prado scheduled a clarificatory investigation on July 24 with a note to bring a copy of the CCTV footage.

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“In this connection, we would like to respectfully request your office to provide us the full copy of the CCTV footage or recording as it is an important piece of document to be brought during the clarificatory investigation,” said Montejo.

Cooperation

Montejo noted that the Cebu City Government has been telling the media that it will cooperate in the investigation.

Rama is in Manila and is expected to be back on Saturday yet.

Montejo's letter is also addressed to City Councilor Dave Tumulak, presiding officer of the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, which operates the City's Command Control Center.

Tumulak, in an interview yesterday, said they are willing to provide a copy of the CCTV footage and cooperate in the investigation of the missing trees.

Tumulak said, though, that he has not yet received a copy of DENR's letter or the subpoena of the prosecutor's office.

Moving

In a separate interview, DENR 7 spokesperson Eddie Llamedo said that the issuance of subpoena by the prosecutor's office is a welcome development.

“This means that the case we have filed against WT is already moving,” he said.

WT Construction is the contractor of the S. Osmeña Blvd. road rehabilitation project of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 7.

Footage taken by the closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras of City Hall showed that workers of WT removed the trees late at night on March 25 or before dawn on March 26 without the supervision of the Cebu City Parks and Playgrounds Commission. At least 100 trees were reportedly removed.

The illegal removal of trees, DENR said, violated the provisions of Presidential Decree 953 also known as the Forestry Reform Code of the Philippines.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 11, 2014.

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