Councilor: Stop tree cutting

BAGUIO City Councilor Levy Lloyd Orcales has requested the Office of the President for the issuance of an executive order on a moratorium for tree cutting.

"The youth of Baguio with all its people, denounces this type of blatant disregard to the value of trees to our people and our future. The City of Baguio will remain as steward for the protection and preservation of our remaining tree covers. Further, we do not want our children and our children's children not to be able to breathe clean fresh air and deprive them of the future they deserve, let us together save our youth while we still can," Orcales said.

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

Orcales, in his proposed resolution, said a report from a team commissioned to study the city's urban carrying capacity indicates that its current tree population is insufficient for its population of 350,000 residents and a daytime population that climbs to 700,000 with the influx of out-of-town workers, students, businessmen, and tourists.

The study also said that the city's built-up areas encroached into its forest covers. About 2.5 million trees remain standing in the city of Baguio, which represent 28 percent [1,643 hectares] of the city's 5,700 hectares area.

The youth representative said: "With the issuance of an executive order in the moratorium of tree cutting and construction of new commercial buildings, this would allow the city to breath, recover and regain our forest covers as a gift to our people. Apart from a massive regreening program, the moratorium would also allow the City Government to review its rules governing building constructions. We welcome economic development but not to the extent of depriving our people and for the generations to come clean and fresh air."

Orcales said that in October 2019, through the leadership of Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, Malacanang approved "in principle" the city's proposed one year moratoria on new commercial building and on tree cutting to allow the city's environment to recover, considering the overdevelopment that it had been experiencing in the past years.

The proposed executive order providing for the guidelines in the implementation of the moratoria was submitted to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

The resolution was approved during this week's council session and has been adopted by the entire legislative body.


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