Environmental groups: Save trees on path of Davao-Samal bridge

Environmental groups’ call: Save trees on path of Davao-Samal bridge

Environmental groups’ call: Save trees on path of Davao-Samal bridge

GIVING WAY These photos taken on Tuesday show trees cut along the highway in Davao City’s Lanang district where the proposed Samal Island-Davao City connector bridge will diverge to connect to the southbound and northbound traffic in the city. —Germelina Lacorte

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Environmentalists here are alarmed that hundreds of trees are being cut down to give way to the China-funded bridge project that will connect this city to nearby Samal Island.

Carmela Marie Santos, head of the environment group Ecoteneo and secretariat of Sustainable Davao Movement (SDM), said they were surprised to see the signage put up by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) telling the public that it had issued a permit for the cutting of 223 trees in the Davao City side alone for the Samal Island-Davao City Connector (SIDC) project.


READ: Stop cutting trees


Santos, who addressed the city council session on Tuesday, said that Davao City, one of the 38 cities in the country that the state weather bureau said would continue to experience “dangerous” heat index levels, was supposed to be planting more trees, not cutting them.

“This [year] was greeted with the alarming heat levels that have been accompanied by a [suspension] of classes across the country, dismal effects on agriculture productivity and serious health risks for the vulnerable. Yet, here in our city, [the] DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) brings in Chinese contractors cutting trees by the hundreds and clearing areas by the hectares for a bridge that is only less than 3 kilometers,” said the position paper signed by environment groups that included Ecoteneo of the Ateneo de Davao University and the Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability (Idis).

READ: Marcos at ground zero: Tree cutting to blame for landslides

Lawyer Romeo Cabarde, director of Ateneo Public Interest and Legal Advocacy (Apila), said they were greatly disappointed that the city government allowed the cutting of trees despite a local ordinance that protects heritage trees from being cut.

Cabarde said they were exhausting all means to negotiate with the local government but if their efforts would fail, then they would file a writ of kalikasan to prevent the further destruction of trees and the environment and its adverse impact on the lives of communities who depend on them.

The cutting of another 200 trees on Samal Island has also started to pave the way for the start of SIDC construction.



“Were Davao citizens consulted on this matter? Did they observe the Heritage Tree Ordinance and apply for a permit from the Office of the Mayor?” Santos asked, referring to the city ordinance that protects mature trees, particularly centennial trees and those that form part of a tree corridor in the area.

Aside from calling for the suspension of tree-cutting and land clearing activities, the group also urged the local government to declare a climate emergency and a moratorium on all major projects in the city that would damage protected and ecologically sensitive areas.

“We look at the cutting of trees not only as an environmental tragedy but also as a serious human rights violation,” Cabarde said.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

“It’s a dangerous [thinking]for the city council to say that we can’t do anything because it’s a national project,” said lawyer Mark Peñalver, Idis executive director. “So what can the local government do in the face of national government projects that have adverse impact on communities?”

TAGS: Davao City, tree cutting

© Copyright 1997-2024 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.