Village chief in hot water over fallen Acacia
SAN PEDRO CITY, Laguna, Philippines–A century-old Acacia tree that was once spared from a road-widening project did not make it this time around after it was ordered cut down by a barangay (village) chief in Teresa, Rizal.
The Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office (MENRO) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in Rizal were apparently unhappy about losing the hundred-year-old tree on the roadside of J. Sumulong street.
Marlon Pielago, Tanay environment officer, said neither his office nor the Rizal DENR had issued any permit to Romualdo Coralde, the village chief of Barangay Bagumbayan, for the tree cutting.
“Imagine, that tree was spared when the DPWH had a road widening about two years ago basically because it did not pose any danger (to the motorists),” Pielago said in a phone interview Wednesday.
Pielago said the DPWH personnel were the first to notice that the tree, more than a kilometer from the municipal building, was being cut down over the weekend.
He said the public works personnel called the attention of his office to find out if any permit was issued.
“As it turned out, it was the village captain who allowed the cutting. We, too, were left in the dark,” he said.
The tree’s crown was removed leaving just about half of its main trunk when the local government officials ordered the cutting stopped.
Pielago said they wanted to speak with Coralde but the village head was out of Teresa since Sunday for a seminar. Quoting a village councilor, Donnie Francisco, Pielago said the captain had only wanted the tree trimmed, “but it ended up dead anyway,” he added.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer on Wednesday tried calling Coralde on his two mobile numbers and through the village secretary’s number, as listed in the municipal government office, but all calls were unanswered. He has been scheduled to report back to his village by Thursday, Pielago said.
“The province has a moratorium on tree cutting. Even Pnoy (President Aquino) has a directive against it. There has to be some sanction on the village captain,” he said.
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