Third option for south Cebu treesCebu Daily News
Cut down the trees lining Cebu South Road from Naga to Carcar cities. Do not keep them just for sentimental reasons. Block not the path to progress.
Some members of the Provincial Board on Monday vitually gave their imprimatur to the death of trees in favor of a four-lane country highway.
The chorus by Board Members Wilfredo Caminero, Sun Shimura, and Julian Daan was not heard many moons ago, when the question to cut or not to cut at least 155 trees, including 25 century-old acacias, first surfaced.
Why sail with the winds of change now?
Earth-balling at least 16 healthy acacia trees in Naga would be too costly at almost P1 million each.
The safety of motorists traveling south should be given priority, Caminero said, as he wondered how zigzagging around trees left in the middle of the road would fare.
Wider roads will last forever but all trees eventually die, Daan said.
Greater would be the peril that comes from leaving the trees untouched and quarrying the mountains to make space for a wider road, Shimura said.
We agree that earth-balling trees at a cost of P130 million is too steep a price for giving them a new lease on life. The low survival rate also makes the option impractical.
However, it is inordinately simplistic to say that those who want to keep the trees alive are indulging in selfish sentiment.
History, heritage, oxygen, beauty, cool shade, visual relief from urban stress, tourism appeal, local identity – these elements have value that don’t get measured as easily as the cost of concrete mix and a contract kickback.
Engineers can widen a road in a few weeks, but you can’t replace a greenbelt on the same deadline.
Are trees to blame for road mishaps?
No, poor planning is what leads to the absurd situation where a contractor is allowed to start bulldozing and pouring cement on a straight course that has tree trunks and utility poles still standing in its way.
Poor planning – or deliberate neglect to think ahead about the consequences – is what turns majestic landmarks of nature that took three generations to grow into expendable obstructions.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has had a year since an outcry was first raised against axing century-old trees to consider options of redesigning the south road expansion in order to preserve large, aged trees as pillars in a center island with wider lanes on both sides or to establish a diversion road.
What happened to this recommendation?
It was endorsed strongly by Gov. Gwen Garcia, environment groups, and yes, token endorsement at the time by Rep. Eduardo Gullas as well.
Options of costly earth-balling and cutting all the trees are not the only choices to be made.
The third option is there and should be taken seriously by stakeholders.
More from this Column:
- Cleaning up
- For Cebu City in three years
- Plugging the holes
- Fall of (some of ) Cebu’s old guard
- Enhancing notoriety