59 fallen trees in oval site to be replaced by 2,950 saplings
CEBU CITY, Philippines—Workers on Tuesday started cutting down trees at Naga City Central Elementary School in Naga City, Cebu province, to clear the way for the construction of a 400-meter track-and-field oval costing P60 million.
Only 59 of the 79 trees in the project site will be cut, and every fallen tree will be replaced with 50 saplings of indigenous species, said Eddie Llamedo, regional information officer of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
The remaining trees, mostly mahogany, will be integrated into the design of the oval, he added.
The arrangement was reached during a meeting between Llamedo, Naga Mayor Valdemar Chiong and representatives of the Cebu City Environment and Natural Resources Office on Tuesday morning.
A total of 2,950 saplings will be planted in Barangay Inoburan, where the government’s National Greening Program (NGP) site is found.
Chiong said the fallen trees would really be replaced even if this was not required. “We will continue to plant trees in relation to our concern for climate change,” he said in a text message to the Inquirer.
The DENR issued a special cutting permit to Naga after it sent a letter of request on April 25 and complied with the clearances set by the agency.
The cutting started at 9 a.m. on Tuesday. By 3 p.m., 15 “agoho,” three mahogany and two narra trees were already felled. Since only one chain saw was being used, Llamedo said, cutting would be completed on Thursday.
Most of the toppled trees were 10 years old and were not naturally growing, Llamedo said. But Fr. Robert Reyes, head of the National Coalition to Save Trees, stressed that the trees were not “sick, old and dying.”
“They are simply considered an obstacle to a P68-million project in Naga Central School. What morbid timing, what morbid lack of understanding to once more kill trees just a few days before the first anniversary of [Supertyphoon] ‘Yolanda,’” he said in a statement, referring to the killer-typhoon that hit the country a year ago.
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