Pine tree heritage law up for amendments

A SECOND look at a law declaring all pine trees in the city as part of local heritage is pending at the Baguio City Council.

Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda, chair for the committee on laws, human rights and justice wants to review proposed law declaring all pine trees in the city as heritage and protected trees.

“Preservation and increasing the tree coverage of the city is certainly a necessity, however, the proposed ordinance does not define what a heritage tree is,” Tabanda said.

The ordinance was authored by former Councilor Leandro Yangot Jr. which seeks to mandate fines and jail time for violators.

The former legislator claimed that Baguio City has been dubbed as the City of Pines and Pine Tree Capital of the Philippines due to the fact that pine trees in the past abound in the locality and pointed out fast paced development in the city resulting to an alleged urban decay resulted to cutting of pine trees which are soon to become endangered species.

“It says that every pine, regardless of age, is a heritage tree and cutting or damaging any pine tree is punishable. Under existing laws, cutting or damaging any pine tree, whether heritage or not, is punishable,” Tabanda said.

Recently, a tree inventory was ordered by Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu which yielded a count of 2,498,019 trees left in the city.

The inventory showed there are 492,974 Benguet Pine Trees and 2,005, 045 other varieties in the city, the DENR also reported forest cover spans 1,600 hectares with the largest concentration trees at the Camp John Hay reservation, Teachers’ Camp and the Philippine Military Academy.


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