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DENR orders recall of permits to cut down century-old trees in Cebu

/ 06:29 PM August 08, 2014
century-old cebu trees

THE DAYS are numbered for these trees in Naga City, Cebu province, as government workers prepare to enforce an order to cut down old trees that are considered road hazards. TONEE DESPOJO/CEBU DAILY NEWS

CEBU CITY–The remaining century-old trees in two cities and one town in southern Cebu will no longer be cut.

Environment Secretary Ramon Paje on Friday ordered the recall of the special tree cutting permit issued to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) that would allow the agency to cut down the remaining three century-old trees in Barangay (village) Inoburan, Naga City.

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Paje also told Isabelo Montejo, Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Central Visayas (DENR-7) director, to deny the request of DPWH to cut down 77 trees in San Fernando town and four in Carcar City that were earlier diagnosed by DENR foresters as “diseased and rotting.”

The order was relayed verbally when Paje called Montejo at 11 a.m. on Friday.

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Montejo then wrote Ador Canlas, DPWH Central Visayas director, to inform him of Paje’s order.

The order was issued three days after the DPWH started its operation on Tuesday to cut down the 88 trees in Naga, San Fernando and Carcar that had been tagged by DENR as rotting.

Four century-old acacia trees in Naga City had been cut down. The DPWH personnel were supposed to cut down the remaining three trees in Naga at 9 p.m. on Thursday but the operation was called off after two environmentalists climbed on separate trees and tied themselves to the trunks.

Environmentalists have been opposed to the cutting of the 88 trees, which were among the 155 that would be affected by the 15-km road widening project that covers Naga, San Fernando and Carcar.

The project is worth P1.2 billion and was funded by the pork barrel funds of former congressmen Eduardo Gullas of Cebu’s 1st district and Tomas Osmeña of Cebu City south district.

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TAGS: Cebu, century-old trees, DENR, dpwh, environment, permits
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