DENR: Century trees must stayBy Jessa J. Agua, Ryan Nunez Wenceslao
Cebu Daily News
Environment officials want healthy heritage trees in the Carcar- Naga highway to stay where they are.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources 7 regional executive director Isabelo Montejo said their stand is “no cutting, no compromise.”
The proposal to divert the widened road making the heritage trees part of the center island was once again discussed when Montejo asked for ways for the project to proceed without cutting the trees.
“There is actually a proposal done by (2nd Engineering) District Engineer Daisy Toledo exploring the possibility of having the heritage trees part of the center island at the outer lane,” Marilyn Ojeda, DPWH 7 project engineer said.
Montejo described it as “the best option” and urged DPWH and the contractor to seriously consider the proposal.
The bigger center island could even be utilized as a green park or rest area, PENRO chief Abella added.
But she cited a major turn especially in the budget as DPWH will spend more for the road right of way (RRW).
“Since we will move farther from the center island, it means more will have to be spent for road right of way. That is a problem for us,” Ojeda said.
He also ordered a comprehensive tree inventory to determine which trees are healthy and the ones that are sick and may need to to be cut.
The vigor, health of the trees and its root system will be the focus of the reassessment, he added.
“Our focus and concern is really to preserve our heritage trees. As a young boy from the south, these trees were already there. I did not even realize until recently that these are century-old trees,” he said.
Montejo said that even the option of earth-balling or uprooting the heritage trees and replanting it somewhere may not be a very viable option.
The older and bigger the trees, the higher the risk that they would not respond to earth-balling, the environment executive said.
He called transferring the canopy of old trees “impractical” and said the best option is to have them part of the center island.
The acacia trees were planted in 1915 on orders of the late Cebu governor Dionesion Jakosalem.