Officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways and Silver Dragon, have been summoned to an administrative hearing next week, to explain their pruning of trees along the Abuanan Road in Bago City without a permit.
Joan Nathaniel Gerangaya, Community Environment and Natural Resources Office Bago City head, said they were informed that the DPWH contractor, Silver Dragon, carried out the pruning of the trees in preparation for the widening of the two-lane road to four.
The trees were pruned using a backhoe in preparation for cutting them down so the road widening project would not be delayed, the CENRO was told.
The cutting of trees along the Abuanan Road in Bago City has been stopped and charges will be filed against those responsible for pruning them even before being granted a Department of Environment and Natural Resources permit, Gerangaya said.
The CENRO is conducting the administrative hearing so the Abuanan incident will not happen again with other projects, he said.
The road widening is a government priority project and the cutting of trees is usually granted, but there are laws to follow, he said.
The DPWH filed an application for clearance to cut 271 trees at Abuanan that is still pending with the DENR regional office, he said.
The cutting of the trees without permission is in violation of the PD No. 705 , otherwise known as the Forestry Code of the Philippines, he said.
Of the 271 trees to be cut, more than 100 acacia rain trees were planted as a symbol of Japanese-Philippine friendship 31 years ago along Abuanan Road in Bago City by Organization for Industrial, Spiritual and Cultural Advancement volunteers, Thelma Watanabe of OISCA said earlier.
Even if the trees have been pruned their branches can still grow back, she said.
An online signature campaign on change.org was launched Saturday to urge the DENR not to allow the DPWH to cut 271 trees.
As of 10:30 p.m. yesterday, 3,785 had signed the petition at https://www.change.org/p/department-of-public-works-and-highways-killing-trees-in-the-name-of-progress .
Gerangaya said suggestions by netizens for the trees to be balled and transferred to save them is not possible because they are already very big.
Bago Mayor Nicholas Yulois calling a meeting of the DPWH, DENR and complaining netizens tomorrow.*CPG
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