11 trees cut for blocking ads on Edsa; MMDA madBy Niña Calleja
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Three employees of an ad billboard company were arrested Monday after they were caught cutting down 11 young Balete trees on the center island of Edsa in Quezon City.
They were confronted Tuesday by Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chair Francis Tolentino who asked them: “So whenever trees are blocking your advertisements, you can easily cut them down? Why do you have to do that?”
“We will have (the felled trees) restored by the billboard operator. We will also file a case against the company,” Tolentino told reporters. “Our goal has been to plant more trees because these help absorb the runoff water on Edsa, and yet these people got rid of the trees just to put up their billboards.”
Around 6 p.m. Monday, MMDA personnel saw the three men using jungle knives to chop down the 6-foot-tall trees on Edsa near Kaingin Road, Barangay Apolonio Samson, in the Balintawak area.
The police identified them as Roberto Aragon, 45; Ian Jay Villegas, 18; and Rhanne Cruz, 40, who said they were hired by Stellent Media Solution Inc. to mount tarpaulin signs on the highway.
“We were just ordered by our employers. We cut the trees because they were covering the tarpaulins,” one of them said in reply to Tolentino’s question.
The three men claimed they were not aware that they were doing something illegal.
They said Stellent was paying them P500 each a day to mount tarpaulin ads on major thoroughfares.
MMDA legal services chief Rochelle Macapili-Ona said they will be charged with malicious mischief for destroying government property.