Tree cutting continues as DPWH races vs time
LINGAYEN, Pangasinan—Will environmental groups still be able to save some trees from being felled along the Manila North Road (MNR) in Pangasinan province?
The question surfaced as the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) intensified its tree-cutting activity to complete its road-widening project along the MNR before the year ends.
As of Dec. 2, at least 300 of 589 trees marked for cutting had been felled, said Narchito Arpilleda, DPWH information officer, on Thursday.
This means that, in the next two weeks, the agency will have already cut all the condemned trees before its cutting permit expires.
The DPWH resumed cutting trees along the MNR on Nov. 23 after the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) regional office extended for 45 days the permit it issued to the agency in November 2013.
The extended permit, which the DPWH received on Nov. 19, authorized the agency to cut 589 trees and earth-ball 107 others.
Nongovernment organizations have challenged the tree-cutting permit application in an Urdaneta City court.
At least 770 of 1,829 trees marked for cutting in November 2013 along the 42-kilometer stretch of the MNR in the towns of Rosales, Villasis, Binalonan, Pozorrubio and Sison, and in Urdaneta City were spared when the permit expired in February 2014.
But 181 trees were felled in September because these were either dead or dying from girdling, a process of peeling off bark from a trunk to prevent nutrients from circulating inside the tree.
In an e-mail to the Inquirer, the DENR’s community environment and natural resources office in Urdaneta City said from Nov. 23 to Nov. 30, 278 trees had been cut.
Last week, Virginia Pasalo, founding executive director of the Women in Development Foundation, sued the DENR and the DPWH for cutting the trees.
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