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3,000 trees threatened by dam rehab are saved

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Clearing operations

3,000 trees threatened by dam rehab are saved

/ 12:13 AM June 19, 2017

CITY OF MALOLOS — Proponents of a project to rehabilitate Angat Dam would have no need for at least two permits issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) allowing up to 3,000 trees to be cut.

The company involved in the rehabilitation, Angat Hydropower Corp. (AHC), sent word that it would not proceed with clearing operations anymore following a protest from Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado against the initial cutting of 938 trees for the project.

Celia Esteban, head of the DENR office in Bulacan province, said AHC stopped the clearing operations in deference to the governor’s protest.

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The DENR had released two sets of tree-cutting permits. The first was used to legalize the cutting of 900 trees to open access to a quarry at the Sierra Madre mountain range in Norzagaray town, Esteban said.

She said AHC would no longer cut more than 2,000 trees covered by the second permit.

Quarrying started in November last year when the trees were felled to allow AHC to transport boulders and filling materials to reinforce the dam.

After an inspection last week, Elizabeth Apresto, Bulacan provincial government environment and natural resources officer, said that no century-old trees were felled in the operation and only newly planted and second-growth ipil-ipil, gmelina and mango trees were cut.

Aside from the cut trees, AHC transferred 230 trees, according to Apresto.

The National Power Corp. (Napocor) is the administrator of the watershed.

In a news conference on Friday, Rogel Teves, Napocor vice president for power engineering services, said the agency was rushing the completion of a flood forecasting system within Angat as its contribution to the dam’s rehabilitation. —CARMELA REYES-ESTROPE

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TAGS: AHC, Angat Dam rehabilitation, Angat Hydropower Corp., Bulacan tree cutting, Celia Esteban, DENR, Wilhelmino Sy-Alvardo
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