DPWH shuns condition to cut, replace century-old acacia

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Monday, July 28, 2014


THE Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 7 has refused to cut seven diseased acacia trees along the national highway in the City of Naga despite an extended special cutting permit issued to it.

In a letter to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7 Executive Director Isabelo Montejo, DPWH 7 Director Ador Canlas said they would not cut the trees because they cannot comply with the permit’s condition that they plant 100 tree seedlings for every tree they cut.

The special cutting permit also requires DPWH 7 to maintain the seedlings planted for three years to ensure their survival.

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“This Office does not have the funds to acquire the replacement trees, which is notably quite numerous considering the number of trees covered,” Canlas said, adding that DPWH finds the condition “very difficult.” He said the DPWH 7 also does not have enough personnel to maintain the trees planted.

He told the DENR 7 that planting trees and shrubs within road right-of-way (RROW) is prohibited under DPWH Department Order 73, series of 2014.

Due to DPWH's refusal, DENR 7 officials asked City Government of Naga and the Cebu Provincial Government to assist them in removing decaying and diseased trees along the highway.

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Llamedo said the DENR 7 hopes to get the help of the Capitol and the City Government in removing the diseased trees as these pose a risk on the safety of the public.

Montejo, in a letter to Mayor Valdemar Chiong, asked the City Government to take the initiative in cutting the trees as the DPWH 7 refused to do it.

Chiong criticized the DPWH’s decision. He said DPWH is “washing its hands” off the issue, which is its responsibility in the first place.

“Sila man ang ni-apply sa cutting permit, sila unta’y muputol. Dili unta sila magpasapasa sa uban (They were the ones who applied for a cutting permit so they should do it. They should not pass on the task to others),” the mayor told Sun.Star Cebu.

He said the City Government can remove the diseased trees provided that DPWH 7 turns over the budget for the activity to the local government.

Chiong said the removal of trees in the City of Naga is part of the P78-million budget for the road widening project that extends to Carcar City.

He said he plans to submit a position paper to the DENR regarding their stand on the removal of trees.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 29, 2014.

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