ON THE heels of an order for a pine tree count, Baguio Mayor Mauricio Domogan cited several programs being undertaken by the city in the preservation of the environment.
“Ironically, instead of helping the campaign for the city’s environment, there are still some individuals and groups, who continue to finger point to those who are supposedly responsible in the infestation and the legitimate cutting of trees pursuant to the permits from the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources), the primary agency on the matter and even our office for the emergency tree cutting permits,” Domogan said.
The mayor lashed out at critics and said “Let us therefore walk the talk before we criticize others, let us reflect on ourselves, on what we have done for our beloved city” adding “the city’s relentless campaign against squatting, which partly contributes to tree denudation, encounters interferences even from supposed responsible officials and from injunctions issued by the Courts and the NCIP.”
Domogan added the preservation and protection of the environment is not the monopoly of those claiming to be environmentalists but the concern of everyone.
“We therefore welcome and appreciate the concern raised by DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu on the state of pine trees on public and private places at different parts of the city and overall situation of its environment,” added the mayor.
Over the weekend, Cimatu ordered the conduct of an inventory of pine trees in the country’s Summer Capital after observing that more than 100 trees in Camp John Hay are either dead or dying.
Domogan enumerated programs geared towards the environment.
“The city government through the City Environment and Parks Management Office, in close coordination with the DENR and its experts, has been working on infected trees, mentioned by the good Secretary. The expensive cost of the procedure in ridding the trees of the infestation and the substantial time involved in the conduct of the same has been one of the major hindrance in the consolidated effort to address the pine tree infestation. In fact dozens of infested trees in our parks and other public places were subject to the stringent surgical process, while the dead trees were removed and replaced with young ones through continuing reforestation program in coordination with eth DENR,” he said.
The chief executive recounted moves to preserve the GSIS tree park.
“Contributing its share in the endeavor to save and preserve the environment, the yearly Domogan Cup, channel a chunk of its proceeds to the Alay sa Kalinisan Foundation, through its clean and green program. Realizing the importance of preserving the growth of pine trees near the Convention Center, the city government proposed to purchase the lot from its owner, the GSIS, in order to maintain it as a tree park. Also, we have endorsed the letter of the children of the Pines Learning Center, to the President, to maintain the said area as a tree park. Fortunately, the GSIS issued a statement, that they are no longer willing to sell the property,” he added.