3 Naga barangays endorse tree-cutting permit
It looks like the Naga-Carcar road widening project will continue after three barangays in Naga City gave their endorsement to the Deparment of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to go ahead and cut down or earthball remaining trees along the road.
The barangay endorsements were one of several conditions for a Special Tree Cutting Permit issued last month by the environment department.
Mignon Nillama, DPWH Information Officer, said that they are glad about the development because national funds allocated for the project for the year 2012-2013 have to be spent before December.
The road-widening project carried out by AR Adlawan Construction is almost completed except for the stretch where 154 trees are located in Naga city.
Of this number, 42 mostly fruit trees can be cut down and 96 will have to be earth-balled.
Sixteen century-old acacia trees cannot be removed because of their historic value but seven are considered in “critical condition” due to their age and condition, and can be cut down, according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) which issued the special permit.
A meeting is set on Monday with the DPWH’s project manager, contractor, Naga City and other stakeholders to discuss the next steps in cutting, removing and replacing tress.
There are 12 conditions to be followed for the special tree-cutting permit, said Eddie Llamedo, DENR 7 information officer.
He reminded the DPWH that this includes replacing affected trees by planting 13,800 seedlings before starting any tree cutting or earth-balling.
The agency also has to conduct a study to assess the value of the trees in terms of biodiversity, carbon sequestration potential and water storage capacity and how to lessen the negative impact of their removal.
Three barangays in Naga City gave endorsements to the DPWH whose regional director Ador Canlas submitted the papers on Tuesday to his counterpart in the DENR.
The endorsements were made by barangay captains of Tinaan and Langtan on Sept. 15 and Inuburan on Oct. 2 with barangay council resolutions.
They said they do not object to the issuance of the permit to cut and earth-ball trees for the road widening project.
Rose Liza Osorio of the Philippine Earth Justice Center Inc (PEJC), who earlier said her group is studying legal action against both the DPWH and DENR , said that Naga City and the barangays have to be reminded of their accountability for and responsibility to protect the heritage trees.
“They are advised to study laws on climate change, national heritage laws, the Local Government Code and the like,” said Osorio in a text message.
Tinaan barangay captain Zosimo Panilad, Inuburan barangay captain Rodulfo Tumada Sr. and Langtad barangay captain Fortunato Abangan certified that they understood the implications of the proposed DPWH road widening or improvement of the Natalio Bacalso Avenue in the section from Tinaan City of Naga to Sibonga, Cebu and are fully aware of the positive effects and benefits of the project.
The three barangay captains certified that the first requisite of the project is to clear the area which includes removing by cutting or earthballing affected trees within the 20 meter road right of way of the barangay.
“I have consulted my respective constituents and they interpose no objection whatsoever to the project and are in fact fully supportive of its implementation.”
“There are no outstanding or anticipated issues from any sectors within these barangays against said project implementation.”
They also said a study of the environmental value of the trees and how to minimize the negative impact of their removal should be made.
The DENR granted an environmental compliance certificate (ECC) last April 24, 2013.
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