Catajan: 100 trees


HAVE you heard a tree fall?

It is a hideous, wretched sound like a death of a thousand voices amidst the blaring of chainsaws.

There is a gap of silence before the actual fall, for a few seconds, you will hear the uprooting of the Pine from the earth, and it is like hearing the slow silencing of screams... until there is no more.

It is a horrid, horrid sound.

My first debate on tree cutting was borne from street protests we were made to participate in by the Catholic School run by nuns.

It was the time of the Tuntex protests at Camp John Hay and the school encouraged participation to street protests which we were always a part of.

The nuns taught us to march the streets and come to think of it, it was cool.

One time, an aunt asked why we were protesting in the streets and I answered back that the trees should not been cut, she lectured me on development and the wrong state of mind the nuns taught.

I feebly tried to answer back, but was too flushed to win the debate with an aunt who worked inside the area the company was about to develop.

So, the nuns continued to let us join protest the streets as we maneuvered our first Friday masses every month, and I continued to like debates on the cutting of trees.

Baguio has always loved its green covers but is notoriously known to lose them under their noses.

This week, there are about 100 trees which gave way to development in two areas in the city, albeit protest and indignation, the cut has been made.

A study said, four pine trees provide oxygen for one person as much as 45 lbs of oxygen a year. One pine tree absorbs as much as 40 t0 45 lbs of dangerous CO2 annually and cleanse the air of smog while, one mature pine tree absorbs as much as 150 liters of water which it releases to recharge groundwater, Pine trees prevent landslides and erosion, regulate urban island heat phenomenon and lessen wind speed by 15 percent.

Vista Land Residences Incorporated felled 54 fully grown trees to give way to a high rise development and the Philippine Military Academy also started to cut 53 trees in its area for a new building.

I miss the school run by the nuns as I grieve for the 100 trees, because unlike before, there were no debates.

The cut has been made.


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