THE Philippine Military Academy (PMA) admitted it will be cutting some 53 tree inside the Asia's premiere military academy.
Captain Cheryl Tindog, PMA spokesperson, said cutting of trees inside the academy has gone through the process required by the Forestry Code of the Philippines and other special laws, including the City Government of Baguio.
Tindog added the site where the trees where cut will be used to build additional facility for the academy which is in accordance to the approved master development plan of PMA.
On June 17, 2020, Ralph Pablo, regional director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-Cordillera, signed the tree cutting permit for 39 Benguet Pine, four Agoho trees, two Alnus, and eight red bottle brush.
The City Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro) and the City Environment and Parks Management Office of Baguio conducted a joint inspection on October 29, 2019 and recommended the issuance of tree cutting permit.
The Office of the Punong Barangay of Fort Del Pilar also issued a certification in support for the issuance of tree cutting permit and the City Mayors Office granted clearance to cut the 53 trees.
Evaluated and reviewed by the Cenro of Baguio City and Penro of Benguet, the tree cutting is found to be compliant with the existing forestry laws, rules and regulations.
The permit states that tree cutting operations should be under the direct supervision of Cenro and the local government of Baguio, while PMA was asked replace the trees to be cut with 2,650 seedlings preferably Benguet Pine species.
Tindog said PMA has been consistently and continually growing trees inside Fort del Pilar, knowing the significance of the trees, as they are in partnership with other entities such as the SM Foundation, as well as with the University of Cordilleras, Cenro and DENR, to name a few.
"It is evident in the permit to cut issued to us by the DENR. Moreover, the PMA is abiding by the conditions set in the permit, such as planting of trees in a number even more than what is required. The permit allowed the military institution to cut 53 trees, and given a total of 2,650 seedlings to DENR for the required 50 replacement seedlings for every one tree," Tindog added.
The seedlings will be planted in spaces that DENR has identified.
Last week, Baguio residents howl after 53 pine trees and one Northfolk Pine in Purok 3, Outlook Drive.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Baguio City also expressed strong opposition for the cutting of trees for development in Baguio City.
"The Diocese of Baguio strongly opposes and considers as unacceptable the continuing mass killing of full grown and healthy trees," the diocese said in the official statement signed by Bishop Victor Bendico.
The Diocese added that cutting trees in favor of construction of commercial buildings in the city affronts and defies the Diocesan Vision-Mission on the sustenance of the environment and it contempts the hard-founded works of the late Bishop Emeritus Carlito Cenzon, a religious leader who fought for the preservation of Baguio's pine trees.