In Cebu town, plan to cut 700 old trees opposed

In Cebu town, plan to cut 700 old trees opposed

By: - Reporter / @nestleCDN
/ 05:20 AM May 22, 2024

In Cebu town, plan to cut 700 old trees opposed

THREATENED These trees in the town of Poro on Camotes Island in Cebu, shown in this photo taken in March, are threatened by a road-widening project initiated by the provincial government. —photo courtesy of Fr. Joel Bonza

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Over a thousand residents, mostly Catholic Church parishioners, in the town of Poro on Camotes Island, east of Cebu province’s mainland, have mounted a strong opposition to the plan to cut down more than 700 trees, most of which are over half a century old, to pave the way for a road-widening project.

With at least 1,674 signatures gathered as of Tuesday in petitions both online and at the parish level, the petitioners led by Fr. Joel Bonza, parish priest of the Sto. Niño de Poro Parish Church, urged concerned government agencies, particularly the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), to reconsider the permits to cut down the acacia, “lomboy” (java plum fruit), and bangkal (Leichhardt pine) trees that line the 14-kilometer road in the municipality that would be widened.


READ: Roads for people and trees


While they support infrastructure improvements, they said this should not be done at the expense of the environment.

According to Bonza, most of the trees were already 60 to 70 years old while a few of them were 100 years old.

READ: Environmentalists lose case to save 259 trees in Pampanga

Signature campaign

Bonza said he was hoping he could meet and talk soon with Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia for her to help them save the trees even as the provincial government, which has initiated the road-widening project, would continue to pursue infrastructure development in the town.

“We’re happy to hear that Governor Garcia is (also) willing to dialogue with us. We hope and pray that everything will be going well. This is for Mother Earth,” Bonza told the Inquirer through Messenger on Monday.

Bonza and his parishioners began collecting signatures to save the town’s trees since January, with the aim of collecting up to 2,500 signatures. The signature campaign has so far gathered the support of some 1,674 residents of the town, many of whom also signed the petition that Bonza created on



Poro is a dominantly Catholic town populated by about 26,232 as of the 2020 census. It is one of the four towns belonging to the Camotes Group of Islands along the eastern tip of the province. The other towns are Tudela, San Francisco and Pilar.

The road widening in Poro would affect major thoroughfares that traverses through at least five barangays—Mercedes, Esperanza, Adela, San Jose and Daan Paz, according to Bonza.

Garcia, in a media interview on May 19, said she was open to a dialogue with the residents and the clergy of Poro town.

“I am willing to call them and we will listen to them. We will call everyone, including the mayors concerned. I will listen to all sides and look for a possible middle ground,” she said.

Poro Mayor Edgar Rama could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

Garcia also hoped that the officials of the DENR in Cebu would speak up regarding the matter.

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“Let us also take into consideration the proper government agency that is tasked to really preserve the environment, including the decision on how progress should go with the environment,” she said.


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