THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Central Visayas stopped the cutting of 65 trees in a hospital expansion project in the southwestern Cebu town of Pinamungahan.
A cease-and-desist order (CDO) was issued to officials of the Dr. Jose Maria V. Borromeo Memorial District Hospital in Barangay Pandacan, Pinamungahan after around 65 assorted trees were cut down to make way for the hospital’s ongoing expansion project.
The trees, which were mostly gemelina and mahogany, were reportedly felled last week.
Fedencio Carreon, chief of Toledo City’s Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO), turned over the order to Dr. Feleus Bascon, the hospital’s chief, last
Carreon ordered Bascon to cease all ongoing activities until such time that the hospital can secure clearance or permit from the DENR.
During an initial inventory conducted by CENRO Toledo City last January 22, Carreon found that around 36 mahogany (equivalent to 10.1084 cubic meters) and 10 gemelina (3.0117 cubic meters) were affected by the project.
Mark Grejaldo, one of the foresters who conducted the investigation, advised Bascon to stop the transport of the timber from the hospital compound.
This, after around 2,095 board feet of slabs of timber was taken out from the hospital premises and transferred to Barangay Bato.
Dr. Isabelo Montejo, DENR 7 director, also directed Jose Cleo Colis, Cebu Provincial
Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) chief, to form a team to investigate the matter and to submit a report immediately.
Montejo said the hospital failed to secure a special tree cutting permit from DENR even though the trees that were felled down were planted within a public area.
Only the DENR regional director can issue a special tree cutting permit especially if trees are affected in projects concerning public roads, plazas, parks other than national parks, school premises or in any other public ground.
Montejo said he will only issue the STCP after they will be able to secure a clearance from the DENR undersecretary for field operations.
He said the incident should be further investigated as persons responsible for this should be held accountable based on existing forestry laws, rules and regulations.
Montejo said the DENR 7’s legal division will study the possible cases to be filed those responsible for the removal of the trees.
The trees have been planted since 1993 and have a combined volume of 13.1201 cubic meters with mostly 30 centimeters in diameter and an average height of six meters.
The largest in diameter is recorded to be about 39 centimeters and the smallest is around 15 centimeters. Both are mahogany.
The hospital sits on a 0.03-hectare property donated to the Cebu Provincial Government by the Borromeo clan several years ago.