Board enters fray over cutting of trees | Inquirer News

Board enters fray over cutting of trees

/ 02:10 AM February 19, 2014

A CHILD ties a white ribbon around a tree that has been marked for cutting along the route of a highway expansion project in Pangasinan province. WILLIE LOMIBAO/CONTRIBUTOR

LINGAYEN, Philippines—The provincial board on Tuesday said it would call all agencies and officials involved in the cutting of trees along the MacArthur Highway (Manila North Road) traversing several towns and Urdaneta City in the eastern part of the province.

Vice Gov. Ferdinand Calimlim, the board presiding officer, said there was a need to investigate the tree cutting for the highway’s widening “because this has become a big issue not only in Pangasinan but the entire country, including [among] advocacy groups in [Metro] Manila.”


“They are crying foul over the cutting of these trees,” he said.


He said the board would ask representatives of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and other agencies to attend the hearing in the first week of March.

The project requires the cutting of 1,829 trees lining the MacArthur Highway in the towns of Rosales, Villasis, Binalonan, Pozorrubio and Sison, and Urdaneta City.

DENR records showed that 70 percent, or 1,280 trees, had been cut, leaving a little more than 500 trees standing.

Calimlim said the provincial government wanted to find out if the project went through valid and proper processes, what the plans are to replace the fallen trees and what to do with the logs.

When asked why local officials were quiet and did not resist the project, Calimlim said: “But this was not a project of the local government, but of the national government. It is not only in Pangasinan where trees are being cut for road widening, but in different parts of the country.”

He said the board would also invite former Pangasinan Rep. Mark Cojuangco, who claimed responsibility for the tree cutting as he pushed the project in his district.


In an interview last week, Cojuangco said the trees needed to be cut to give way to the road-widening project. “Those trees are not in the right place. They are inside the road’s right of way,” he said.

Calimlim said the question hour would also deal on tree cutting in different Pangasinan towns. “Hopefully we can clear the issue,” he said.

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A DPWH official said tree-cutting activities were scheduled in Sta. Barbara, Calasiao, Malasiqui and Bayambang towns and San Carlos City. Yolanda Sotelo, Inquirer Northern Luzon

TAGS: environment, News, Regions, trees, Urdaneta City

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