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Gwen: ‘Canopy trees’ are safe

Gwen: ‘Canopy trees’ are safe

Lorraine L. Ecarma (The Freeman) – October 23, 2019 – 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia has assured that the century-old trees in Barangay Perrelos, Carcar City are safe and are not among those marked for cutting by the Department of Public Works and Highways.

Garcia made the assurance yesterday in response to the petition for Writ of Kalikasan filed by lawyers Democrito and Lourdes Barcenas against the DPWH-7 and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Central Visayas.

The governor explained that she had already met with the officials of DENR-7, DPWH-7 along with acting City of Naga Mayor Kristine Vanessa Chiong and Carcar City Mayor Mercy Apura and discussed the fate of the trees rallied behind by the environmental activists.

 During the meeting, Garcia said, she was told that only 32 trees are subject of a cutting permit issued by the DENR because these are deemed safety hazards and an obstruction to traffic.

However, due to public outcry, Garcia and the government agencies concerned, including the LGUs, agreed to a two-week moratorium to allow a reassessment of the area to reconsider which trees are in dire need of cutting and which of them can be spared.

 Garcia stressed that the trees along Barangay Perrelos are not among the 32 considered for cutting. She also stated that there is no budget yet for the road widening project in Carcar.

“First of all, in the 2020 budget, that is not included. Ang naa ra ang Naga Road Section pa lang. Wa pa nay labot ang katong sa Carcar nga widening,” she said.

Garcia is set to meet again with the LGU chiefs, DENR and DPWH for the reassessment. She added that they will be making an announcement of the final number of trees that will be affected.

The Barcenas couple asked the Court of Appeals Monday to issue a Temporary Environmental Protection Order (TEPO) against the DENR and DPWH officials to save the trees along the national highway from the City of Naga to Carcar City from being cut.

A similar petition was also filed earlier by environmental lawyer Benjamin Cabrido but it was dismissed by the appellate court for lack of merit. FPL (FREEMAN)


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