CEBU CITY – Despite the heavy criticism, the Department of Natural Resources in Central Visayas (DENR 7) will push through with the cutting of trees to pave the way for road expansion projects in various areas in Cebu.
In the City of Naga, southern Cebu, the DENR has inspected at least 30 trees and seven of them are scheduled to be cut.
These trees, which include mahogany, Gmelina and acacia, are located along carriage ways.
“We hired pathologists and they were the ones who recommended to have them cut since these are dying trees,” said Eduardo Enting, regional technical director of DENR 7.
Enting said dying trees host diseases and pose danger to commuters.
Enting clarified said these trees that set to be cut are not century or heritage trees.
Last October 15, residents and a group of environmentalists held a rally in Naga to protest the planned cutting of trees.
Officials of DENR appealed for understanding from the public.
“In Cebu, some trees will be affected by road widening. There is necessity to expand the road network because traffic is going to be difficult just like in Metro Manila. There is a need to ease the life of the people,” said DENR Undersecretary Rodolfo Garcia at the sidelines of the at the sidelines of the 78th International Federation of Landscape Architects-Asia Pacific Region Thursday at a hotel in Cebu City.
“It is always a challenge, we have our pragmatic needs. Nature is important and development is also important. It has to be balanced,” Garcia added.
Corazon Davies, Assistant Secretary for Police and Planning Services of DENR, said cutting of trees goes through a careful study especially if it involves century or heritage trees.
“The DENR has a program to preserve century and heritage trees. When we cut trees, it is always based on science,” Davies said.
Davis said there are ways to cushion the impact of trees being cut.
“Trees are renewable resources. We can plant new ones,” she said.
Davies emphasized that some trees located in highways or major streets have to go to improve traffic.
“When there is traffic, there’s less productivity. When you get stalled because of traffic, there will be more pollution. There is a need to cut trees and you just have to find open spaces where you can plant new ones,” Davies said.
Meanwhile, the DENR has partnered with the Philippine Association of Landscape Architects to promote its programs.
“This partnership will bring in the greening of the landscape. In establishments like shopping centers or buildings, you will now begin to see green buildings,” said Garcia.
Garcia explained that a green facade is a wall which helps reduce carbon footprints that are generated especially in highly polluted areas.
Eric Estonido, president of PALA, said the partnership will help increase biodiversity by increasing the green network within the urban development.