Save the Trees Coalition files case vs Ochoa; DPWH spares 486 trees


Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. FILE PHOTO

ANGELES CITY—The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has scrapped its plan to cut 486 trees to widen the stretch of the Manila North Road here and in nearby Mabalacat City.

The move came just as leaders of the Save the Trees Coalition (STC) filed a civil case on Monday in a bid to get a temporary environmental protection order (Tepo) against a permit issued by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr.

“Inasmuch as we will no longer cut the trees for the project, the case will be moot,” said Antonio Molano, DPWH director in Central Luzon, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer when sought for comments on the case filed by the STC at the regional trial court here on Monday.

But STC leaders led by Cecile Yumul and their lawyer, Francisco Yabut, were not quick in declaring victory or rejoicing over the DPWH’s decision to cut old acacia trees.

“Director Molano should tell the court in official procedures about the cancellation of the tree cutting. We need proof or guarantee that the trees will be spared from cutting and the rights of my clients to a clean environment are recognized and respected,” Yabut said.

Yumul was not letting down her guard, saying DPWH officials should respond to the case.

The tree-cutting permit was among those that Ochoa approved in July from 174 projects of the Department of Engery, DPWH and two local governments.

The other defendants in the case are Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje and Environmental Management Bureau Central Luzon Director Lormelyn Claudio.

Molano said the plan was scrapped at the instruction of Singson last week. The DPWH would build guard rails around the trees and use the outer lanes for bicycles and motorcycles.

He said the agency would consult with stakeholders on Wednesday about a plan to cut trees to widen the Friendship Road or the Magalang (Pampanga)-Concepcion (Tarlac) Road as an alternative route to the Clark International Airport inside the Clark Freeport.

Yumul said the STC would also oppose this.

The 19-page complaint cited the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in the case of Oposa vs Factoran that recognized the “right to a balanced and healthful ecology,” as a “legally demandable and enforceable right” and the “correlative duty to refrain from impairing the environment.”

In asking the court to nullify and void Ochoa’s permit, the STC cited various benefits of trees, including flood mitigation, clean air and traffic safety.

“Let us learn from our mistakes, the way first world countries have learned from theirs. We can continue to move on progressively without destroying what is not ours to destroy,” the STC leaders said in the complaint.

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  • Aaron T

    Ewan ko kung ano nakain nito ni Ochoa e, Sa Angono, Rizal muntik na putulin mga Centuries old trees sa amin buti tinutulan ng Sanguniang Bayan…. Sa Binangonan naputol ng DPWH lahat…. Nanahimik ang mga puno puputulin lang ng ganun ganun? Nag aral ka ba OCHOA? 

  • zeroko

    With or without the cutting of trees, Ochoa is a very controversial personality. The only reason he is still around is that Chinese usually retain their friends and relatives in any undertaking no matter how corrupt and stupid they are. 

    Take the looks of Puno. He was originally questioned due to the batch “Hostage taking in Lunita.” Gumawa na naman ng gimmick sa PNP. But this time, PUno is so careless, he did the unthinkable. He was originally assigned as “Observer only” in the PNP gun transaction. But, he violated this. He went to the extend of inviting the PNP Generals and preside over it. Then he went ot Israel to talk with the supplier. He he he. Checkmate! He resign out of shame.

    But for Ochoa, just wait. He may be the next to resign. Cabinet Secretary ka, ayaw mong magpa-interview? Masuerte ka. Dapat complete transparency, hindi nagpapaimportante ka sa pwesto mo. If you do not fit on your job, or you do not want to be interviewed, then submit your resignation, give your walking paper, irrevocable resignation to PNoy your boss. Pareho kayong Tsekwa!

  • neilabarca

    Sa gitna ng sunud-sunod na nararanasang DILUBYO at trahedya ng ating bansa, ang kailangan ng bayan natin ay 10 milyong punong itatanim sa lahat ng nakakalbong kabundukan at ating mga LANSANGAN o  HIGHWAYS.mula Aparri – Pagudpud sa norte – Sorsogon, Bicol  hanggang Davao sa MIndanao kahit pa madiskaril  o makapag-create ito ng “traffic.”  

    Ang dapat CONCERN ng gubyerno – DPWH ngayon ay ang paglalagay ng malalaki at malalalim na drainage system sa buong kapuluan,  traffic management system at pagpa-priority ng MASS TRANSPORT SYSTEM.

    Saludo ang buong mamamayang Pilipino, kasama si Sting sa advocacy ng STC na magkaroon ng awareness sa kahalagahan ng TREE PLANTING – REFORESTTATION para sa ating inang KALIKASAN.

  • Fulpol

    Almendras is already inside, what is the point of retaining Ochoa?

  • phantomofhope

    simpleng kurakot daw yan eh

  • disqusted0fu

    looks like Ochoa is slowly losing his privileges as part of the kkk. he has Almendras to blame

  • surigao_miners

     The other defendants in the case are Public Works Secretary Rogelio
    Singson, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje and Environmental Management
    Bureau Central Luzon Director Lormelyn Claudio.—— Ito dapat ang PUPUTOLIN hindi ang mga TREES!

  • Guia Limpin

    WE speak for the trees!  

  • mxsclxmxn

    Anak ng tipaklong, century old trees puputulin nila! Utak alamang mga ito. Gumawa sila ng bagong daan! 

  • mawalanggalangpo

    Why not use the bay or the sea to build more transport passages ? Make underwater tunnels for trains. Build a bridge to connect Metro Manila with Region 3.

    Local governments should supervise tree planting along roads. Future road widening should be thought of. Compulsory or dictated obedience similar with Marcos’ Tree Planting without correct planning and democratic public discussion result to this situation we are now having.

    Giving lanes to bicycles and motorcycles is a good idea. We hope that pedestrians are not left out in the safety and equal sharing aspects.

    Big trees give more oxygen so by saving those trees a big of source of our breathing needs has been saved and carbon monoxide from the fuel pollution was and more will be taken away.

    If drivers will be more responsible those trees would not be causing accidents but would instead be speed limit reminders. Bus and jeepneys designated stops would prevent public utility vehicles from racing to get passengers. Putting lights on the trees would help in visibility during dark hours. Painting tree trunk is like putting chemicals on a living thing, it also defaces nature’s beauty.

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