DENR to cut ‘defective’ trees and earthball 16 othersBy Tweeny M. Malinao
Cebu Daily News
IT was as “good as dead,” said a environment official.
The tree stump that Cebu Daily News photographed of a giant acacia already cut down and lying by the road in barangay Tinaan, Naga City is one of nine century-old trees considered “defective” and targeted for removal for public safety, said Eddie Llamedo, spokesman of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Central Visayas (DENR-7).
But no tree-cutting permit has been issued yet.
A request is pending with the DENR Secretary to cut them down and remove 16 other healthy century-old acacia trees along the south Cebu highway by earthballing.
The process requires pulling out the trees by the roots and transferring them elsewhere to give way to a national Naga-Carcar road-widening project, he confirmed.
Llamedo said the request was made by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
In earth-balling, a tree is carefully removed, roots and trunk intact, to be transferred to another site for replanting.
Llamedo said his office endorsed the DPWH request to Manila on July 20 because the DENR 7 has no authority to act on it.
“Based on the results of the inventory it’s been 10 years since the tree was on the verge of (falling down). If it wasn’t cut down, that tree could have fallen anytime,” he said.
Llamedo, however, said he didn’t know who cut down the tree spotted by CDN near the work site on Saturday. He said it appeared to have been cut just last Friday.
Only the Environment Secretary can approve a tree cutting permit under new guidelines.
The felled tree in the national highway in south Cebu was spotted by CDN on Saturday near the cluster of century-old acacia trees which form a green canopy between Carcar and Naga cities.
Photographs of the roadside trees have appeared in various coffee table books and magazines as an icononic welcome arch to south Cebu.
Results of a DENR inventory showed that there are 115 trees along the highway.
Of this number, 25 are century-old acacia trees. Nine of the 25 trees are identified as “defective and considered hazardous which needs immediate attention.”
Llamedo said he was told by a member of the DENR’s Forest Management Services (FMS) inventory team that based on heir May 11 and 16 inspections the fallen acacia tree was already ruptured a decade ago. He said he didn’t know who cut it down, though.
Llamedo said the DENR requested an endorsement to earth-ball the remaining century-old trees from the Office of the Governor and the local governments of Naga and Carcar cities based on Presidential Decree 953.
“We haven’t received their endorsement yet,” Llamedo said.
Llamedo said the DPWH request to earth-ball the trees will be based on the existing memo issued by DENR Undersecretary Analiza Teh on the suspension of the issuance of tree cutting permits.