ILOILO CITY -- Some 5,633 trees affected by various road widening projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in Western Visayas will be replaced, said assistant regional director, engineer Al Fruto.
“In agreement with the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources), we have already identified planting locations regionwide,” he said.
Fruto explained that as per agreement, DPWH will plant 50 trees for every one plant tree that is cut down. However, one naturally grown tree will be replaced with 100 trees.
The species to be planted will be recommended by the DENR but Fruto said that these are trees that will not pose danger to the traveling public or those that will not be easily uprooted, especially during bad weather conditions.
He said that last Arbor Day, they undertook a tree-planting activity in locations identified by the DENR. Fruto added that they will also plant trees along the road or along project sites.
Concerned offices of the DPWH met on Monday, August 7, to discuss the schedule of the tree replanting, as Fruto said that they can already start in areas where projects are nearing completion.
He added that they need not wait for projects to be completed before they start, otherwise they will be overwhelmed with the number of trees that they need to replant.
“We can already start with projects that are nearing completion. Progressively we can comply with our commitment to plant the corresponding number of trees affected by our projects,” he said.
Data from the DPWH said that in 2016, some 4,372 trees were affected by 13 road widening projects and 1,261 trees in four projects implemented this year.
In an earlier interview, DENR regional executive director Jim Sampulna said that he will be imposing a timetable for the DPWH to comply with the commitment. This as he was informed that no trees were planted yet to replace those that were cut down I line with road widening projects.
Most of the trees that were affected were located in the town of Pototan, Iloilo. (PNA)