Residents slam DPWH for cutting heritage trees

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014


CONCERNED residents in Iloilo City have filed a complaint against Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for cutting several heritage trees along Gen. Luna highway.

The petitioners, who were headed by environmentalist Dr. Kristin Treñas, filed before the office of the Ombudsman a DPWH Regional Director Edilberto Tayao and the DPWH district engineering office.

Treñas said the residents are protesting the cutting of trees along the highway and they asked DPWH Regional Director Edilberto Tayao and the DPWH district engineering office to stop removing any part of the center island, and to restore the land area.

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Treñas said the DPWH must stop concreting the center island with the purpose of widening the road from four to six lanes.

The petitioners also asked the DPWH to divide the entire road right of way by half for motor vehicles and the other half for a wider sidewalk.

Treñas submitted Wednesday the copies of the residents’ petition to the members of the Iloilo City Council and discussed with city councilors, DPWH district engineer Rodney Gustilo, DENR Iloilo City chief Ildefonso Tuliva, and city agriculturist Geraldine Hautea the petition.

DPWH district engineer Rodney Gustilo said they have no recourse but to reduce the center isle for road widening, because the owners of public properties along the sidewalks do not want their properties affected.

The National Government has no more budget for expensive lot expropriations and the justified action is to reduce the center island.

The DPWH is also mandated to plant trees along the national roads, Gustilo said.

City councilor Joshua Alim said the Department of Natural Resources (DENR) will not give an approval for tree cutting unless there is no resolution from the City Council.

City agriculturist Geraldine Hautea said the affected trees can be removed through balling and be replanted at the nearest site or at the city nursery.

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