Magalong displeased by developer that cut trees during quarantine
BAGUIO CITY –– A developer began cutting 54 pine trees at the heavily forested hills of Outlook Drive, alarming Mayor Benjamin Magalong on Thursday.
Citing plans to enforce a tree-cutting moratorium to help regenerate Baguio’s dwindling tree line, Magalong required the developer to replace these trees with 10,800 new pine trees in a meeting with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
The developer secured permits to cut the trees in 2018, after being granted an Environmental Compliance Certificate for the construction of a condominium in 2017.
Proceeding with the tree cutting during the quarantine affects Baguio’s regreening plans, which were delayed by the coronavirus disease pandemic, Magalong said in a city release.
The developer’s representative, Ferdinand Salcedo, said the company would comply with Magalong’s directive.
The mayor initiated Baguio’s redevelopment last year when he assumed office, to address overdevelopment and overcrowding in the summer capital.
To achieve this, Magalong asked Malacañang to enforce a moratorium on building constructions and tree cutting.
Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu backed Magalong’s suggestion and ordered an inventory of Baguio trees, which now sums up to 2.5 million trees clustered in a few areas of the City.
A recent study on Baguio’s carrying capacity indicates that the city’s tree population is insufficient for its over 350,000 residents, and a daytime population that climbs to 700,000.
During an assessment of the quarantine’s impact on Baguio, the restrictions on movement helped Baguio’s forests and tree-lined parks to regenerate, according to lawyer Rhenan Diwas, acting city environment officer.
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