DPWH ‘to realign’ part of road budget

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014


SOME parts of the Naga-Carcar road will no longer be widened to avoid cutting century-old acacia trees, says Rep. Gerald Anthony Gullas (Cebu, 1st district).

Gullas said that Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Singson agreed to his proposal to realign a portion of the budget to the ongoing road-widening project on the Talisay-Toledo Wharf Access Road in Talisay City.

Gullas raised the matter with Singson in a meeting with other Cebu congressmen yesterday.

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Gullas told Sun.Star Cebu that he proposed to Singson to use more than P30 million of the P88-million allocation in the 2015 budget to widen the Talisay-Toledo access road in Barangay Manipis.

‘Amenable’

The P50 million will be retained to continue the road-widening project from Naga to Carcar, he said.

Singson is reportedly “amenable” to Gullas’s proposals and plans to inform DPWH 7 director Ador Canlas about it.

Gullas said he came up with the proposal since the removal of old and diseased trees along the Naga-Carcar road has been discontinued due a Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) order that no longer allows the cutting of trees in road-widening projects.

Gullas said the road-widening project from Naga to Carcar must proceed without cutting any trees.

In an earlier interview, the congressman opposed the League of Municipalities in the Philippines (LMP) Cebu chapter’s plan to file charges against DENR for discontinuing the removal of hazardous trees along the project route.

“Maybe it’s better if we just file a resolution and justify that there is a need to cut the trees so that DENR can reconsider,” Gullas said.

Non-confrontational

Gullas’s ally, City of Naga Mayor Valdemar Chiong, also disagreed with the LMP’s decision to file a case against DENR.

“That’s confrontational. Ato unta is i-hanyo lang og i-cite ang atong mga punto nganung kailangan putlon ang mga kahoy (I’d rather DENR allows us to cite why a tree must be cut). We are working in the same government but we are pointing blame with one another,” Chiong told reporters.

Archbishop Jose Palma, for his part, reiterated his earlier stand that sick trees that endanger the public should be cut.

“You do not say cut the trees, you do not say don’t cut the trees. I still believe that there should be individual basis. There may be some trees that may be considered in danger. I also agree 100 percent that many trees should be preserved,” he said.

Palma said he has passed through the southern highway many times and noticed that some trees are in danger of falling. He also noted that other trees should be left alone.

He also agreed that a committee to study each tree should be formed since assessment has already been made on individual trees.

Palma said he appreciates Fr. Robert Reyes’s concern for the trees, adding that they share many advocacies.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 03, 2014.

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