Tree-cutting moratorium talks revived in Baguio | Inquirer News

Tree-cutting moratorium talks revived in Baguio

/ 04:20 AM February 12, 2021

BAGUIO CITY—Local officials this week revived talks about a five-year moratorium for all tree-cutting activities in the city following social media backlash over 28 trees that are in the way of four road expansion projects.

The resolution passed by the city council last year would suspend all tree-cutting applications to allow the local government time to improve land-use policies for the environment, said Councilor Arthur Allad-iw.


Allad-iw was one of the councilors who questioned officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) about its tree-cutting policy during their session on Monday.

The proposed moratorium has been pending in the city environment and parks management office, Allad-iw told the Inquirer.


Baguio Rep. Marquez Go filed a proposed measure in the House of Representatives seeking a 10-year tree-cutting moratorium for the city. Its status in Congress has yet to be released.

WALL TRANSFER The road widening at a rotunda where Marcos Highway and Kennon Road, the major routes to Baguio City, meet requires the cutting of trees and the transfer and rebuilding of a retaining wall of a retreat house compound in the area. —EV ESPIRITU

No action yet

These proposed moratoriums were introduced following public backlash when two condominium developers were allowed to cut or transfer more than 100 trees in June last year. Government contractors also cut trees inside the Philippine Military Academy that time.

The original tree-cutting moratorium, which was proposed to Malacañang in 2019 by Mayor Benjamin Magalong, would last for a year along with a freeze order on new building constructions in the city.

Magalong suggested the moratoriums when he initiated a redevelopment plan to rehabilitate the city’s roads, drainage system, parks and public market.

According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Baguio’s tree inventory stands at 2.5 million with only 500,000 pine trees.

On Monday, Magalong said national officials supported the moratoriums but had yet to act on these proposals.

Residents, through social media posts, cited these when they questioned the cutting of trees in road improvement projects in the city.



Online criticisms concentrated on the impact of tree-cutting on a large forested hill that is administered by the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary. The property’s wall was moved and is now being restored by a contractor of the district engineering office.

Local environmentalists also feared that more trees would be cut once the DPWH widened sections of Governor Pack Road along Home Sweet Home, a retirement compound of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The project would also affect a dormitory of the University of the Philippines Baguio.

Michael Jan Ostrea, a DPWH lawyer, informed the council that the agency would continue its expansion toward Home Sweet Home, but that no actual project and funding had been prepared for that part of the road. —VINCENT CABREZA

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TAGS: Baguio, Moratorium, tree cutting
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