DENR: Return all applications for cut permits

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014


THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7 returned all applications for tree cutting permits related to road widening projects in Central Visayas.

This was in compliance with Environment Secretary Ramon Paje’s Aug. 11, 2014 memorandum directing all DENR regional directors in the country to return all pending applications for tree cutting permits.

DPWH 7 Director Ador Canlas said they will comply with Paje’s order. He said projects that will be affected by the order include the proposed road widening of the Banilad-Talamban road.

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DENR 7 spokesperson Eddie Llamedo clarified that Paje’s order does not revoke existing cutting permits.

Nine projects

The order affects nine tree cutting applications: four in Cebu, two each in Bohol and Negros Oriental and one in Siquijor.

Most of the applications involved road widening projects, Llamedo said.

Paje ordered that all applications for tree cutting permits and environmental compliance certificates pertaining to DPWH road projects be returned. He required feasibility studies for road widening projects to cover possible realignments to avoid the removal of trees.

The requirement will be imposed in Cebu, said Paje’s order.

Consultations

Paje also ordered that comprehensive consultations with local government units, civil society groups and environmentalists be conducted in relation to road projects.

Paje ordered that all tree cutting permit applications be coursed through to the office of the DPWH secretary. Only those endorsed by the DPWH secretary will be evaluated by DENR.

Canlas said he will direct engineers to come up with re-evaluated feasibility studies and to redesign their projects to incorporate trees.

In a text message to Sun.Star Cebu, Fr. Robert Reyes lauded the DENR's move and praised the Cebuanos for saving the trees.

“Because the people of Cebu chose to be vigilant, lives not only of trees but of present and future generations of Cebuanos are safeguarded,” he said. He urged Cebuanos to remain vigilant.

“Dead trees in Naga are mirrors of greed, neglect, insensitivity and irresponsibility,” the priest said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 13, 2014.

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