DPWH, green group agree: No tree-cutting-A A +A
Monday, October 21, 2013
CLARK FREEPORT -- The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has entered into a compromise agreement with environmentalists not to cut nor earth ball some 106 affected trees, including 49 acacia trees, planted along MacArthur Highway in Angeles and Mabalacat cities, unless the Manila Northrail Project commences.
This was gleaned in a decision dated September 17, 2013 signed by Regional Trial Court (RTC) branch 59 Judge Ma. Angelica Paras-Quiambao who ordered the parties in Special Civil Action No.12-249 to "file a joint motion for the court to approve a compromise agreement that both parties have lodged."
The parties include complainant-environmentalists led by Cecil Yumul, and defendants Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje and Environment Management Bureau (EMB) Regional Director Lormelyn Claudio.
It could be remembered that Yumul filed an injunction with prayer for temporary environment protection order case against Ochoa and others to block the cutting of trees along the stretch of MacArthur Highway in Angeles and Mabalacat City and nullify the memorandum dated July 16, 2012 issued by Ochoa and the Environmental Compliance Certificate dated March 30, 2005 issued by the EMB in favor of the cutting of the trees.
Quiambao, in her decision, also said that in order to avoid the trouble and expense of a protracted litigation, the parties involved amicably settled for a compromise agreement.
The complainants also agreed to obtain the consent of the Angeles City government to be able to temporarily store the identified trees inside the Gabay Diwa Center, owned by the city government, for safekeeping.
The defendants, thru the DPWH, agreed to inform the complainants of the schedule of the cutting and earth-balling of the identified trees at least one week before the commencement of the cutting and earth-balling.
The defendants, thru DPWH, also agreed to post a signage near the identified trees announcing the schedule of the cutting or earth-balling.
They also vowed to ensure that the trees cut shall be donated to the Department of Education for the construction of public schools, chairs, and tables and also to the City Government of Angeles for the public use in a manner of distribution deemed most reasonable by the defendants.
An inventory of the trees cut shall also be accomplished and all documents will be prepared for the donation of the trees to the DepEd and the city government of Angeles after their request is submitted to the DENR.
Both parties, the decision furthered, agreed to waive and forever discharge any claims against each other as set forth in Special Civil Action No. 12-249.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on October 22, 2013.