Paje orders freeze on all applications to cut trees
Environment Secretary Ramon Paje has ordered all regional offices of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to freeze action on all applications for tree-cutting permits submitted to the DENR by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
Paje, in a memorandum, said DPWH directors and engineers were now required to show proof that all options had been taken to avoid tree cutting for road projects before the DENR allows the cutting of trees.
He said all projects that require tree cutting must first be vetted by Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson before any application by the DPWH to cut trees are entertained by the DENR.
“The recent withdrawal of the road-widening project in Naga City, Cebu province, by the DPWH provided a great opportunity for the government to take a second, or even a third, look on the feasibility of all road-widening projects nationwide,” Paje said in his memorandum dated Aug. 11.
“It also shows that road-widening projects must first be vetted by the DPWH secretary prior to the approval of ECCs (environmental compliance certificates) and tree-cutting permits,” he said.
The DPWH had already cut down four century-old trees in Barangay (village) Inoburan, Naga City, last week before Paje ordered the recall of the special tree-cutting permit given to the DPWH.
Paje’s order came after protesters tied themselves around trees that were to be cut by DPWH workers to prevent the cutting.
In his memorandum, Paje required the DPWH to include an “in-depth review of the feasibility of the road-widening project.”
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