MAGALANG Mayor Malu Lacson said the 89 earth-balled and cut trees at the town plaza are not "suitable" as park trees.
The lady mayor issued the statement after scores of residents expressed their sentiments against the cutting of trees at the town plaza to give way for the improvement beautification project the local government is implementing.
"With each and every change, the land on which the trees grow becomes more or less valuable, and so do the benefits provided by the trees. Even good municipal planning can lead to problems – land reserved for future development is planted with trees until the development is ready to be built," Lacson stated.
"The earth-balled and cut trees at the Magalang Plaza were found to be not suitable as park trees. They are trees that should be planted in the forest," she said.
According to her, the loose soil in the plaza cannot hold the growing trees which become safety hazards.
"A significant number of these trees were uprooted after strong winds and typhoons hit the area. The project is very timely in terms of sustainable development,” the mayor added.
"If we speak about sustainable development, today is the best time to start putting things in place and in order. The earliest time we have to make things right and rectify the actions done by the previous administrations is now," Lacson said.
"I understand that every change is painful but it is the only thing that will push the municipality towards the top and pull it from its resting place to attain progress. To achieve sustainability, suitability shall be ensured," she added.
Earlier, some of the residents claimed that the local government should have consulted the people first before cutting the trees planted around the plaza.
The municipal government had secured a permit from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region III to cut 49 Agoo trees, eight Eucalyptus, 27 neem trees; and earth-ball five narra trees.
The DENR Central Luzon regional office stated that the local government unit was required to plant 100 trees for every tree that will be removed from the town plaza.
Municipal Administrator Daniel Xevier "Pong" Lacson said the local government unit secured a permit from the DENR before the project started.
"We have earth-balled a number of trees and they were transferred to another location. It is unfortunate that we have to remove the trees to make way for the renovation of the plaza," Lacson said.
"But rest assured that the local government unit will be planting replacements for these trees as agreed upon with the DENR," he added.
According to the town administrator, the Sangguniang Bayan passed a resolution for the implementation of the project which was endorsed to the Provincial Board.
"The administration [of Mayor Malu Lacson] has always been very concerned with the environment that is why in her first in office, some 5,000 trees have already been planted in the town," the administrator said. (With reports from Chris Navarro)