Storm topples trees at UPLB forest area
LOS BAÑOS, Laguna—Typhoon “Glenda” felled or uprooted century-old trees at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) and damaged almost half of the university’s forest reserve on Mt. Makiling.
Glenda (international name: Rammasun), however, did not bring as much rainfall as Typhoon “Milenyo” (Xangsane) did in 2006, which brought landslides to the area.
But winds of up to 150 kilometers per hour brought by Glenda broke the crowns of several dipterocarp trees, leaving 2,000 hectares of Makiling’s forest cover damaged, according to initial reports made by the university.
Among the types of trees damaged on Makiling were mahogany, ipil, lauan, narra and maluyo.
The mountain has a total area of 4,244 ha and spans the city of Calamba and the towns of Los Baños and Bay in Laguna province and Santo Tomas town in Batangas province.
“The trees are still standing straight like lampposts although without their branches and crowns,” said Robert Cereno, director of the UPLB Training Center for Tropical Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability.
Cereno said the university was studying the possibility of auctioning off the hardwood from the trunks or branches of the fallen trees.
He said there were reports about residents around the Makiling reserve collecting the toppled trees as materials for rebuilding their houses or as firewood.
At the Philippine High School for the Arts, located also on Makiling, 27 bahay-kubo-inspired cottages that serve as classrooms, laboratories and practice studios were damaged, according to school director Vim Nadera.
At the UPLB’s main campus, century-old trees, among them palm trees, were toppled or uprooted.
UPLB chancellor Rex Cruz placed the cost of the damages at P30 million on the university’s power lines alone.
The amount does not include yet the cost of damage to the housing units of faculty members, Cruz added.
As of Sunday, power has not yet been restored at UPLB, although electricity and telephone signals are back in some other parts of this town.
Cruz said power restoration at UPLB could take two to three weeks.
He said university officials were hoping the situation would normalize before the opening of classes on Aug. 11.
The typhoon struck during a semester break since UPLB has moved its school opening to August. Maricar Cinco, Inquirer Southern Luzon
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