Group opposes plan to cut trees along BRT routes

By Intern May 18,2017

A CIVIL society group called on the Cebu City government not to cut the 2,166 trees along the routes covered by the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project, saying the trees have been integral in protecting the city from pollution.

In a statement, the Pusyon Kinaiyahan said it opposed the cutting of the trees since “it is not a sign of true development.”

“We both cannot sacrifice the integral values that our trees offer us in Cebu City: ecologically, culturally and aesthetically,” said Bro. Jaazeal Jakosalem, OAR, USJ-R property administrator.

Jakosalem said a “structural solution” is needed to solve the city’s traffic problems, but they recognize that the BRT can partially address the demand for an efficient mass transport system.

Running priest Fr. Robert Reyes earlier asked the Cebu City government not to cut down the trees.

He said he plans to tie white ribbons around the trees to invite city residents to help protect them.

Last Wednesday, BRT project management chief Rafael Yap said the city government will ensure the survival of the trees that will be earthballed and transplanted into tree nurseries in the city.

Cebu City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) staffer Joselito Baclayon said based on their experience, their earthballing resulted in a 100 percent survival rate of the transplanted trees.

Jakosalem said the BRT project proponents should consider the environmental impact caused by the loss of trees and the displacement of jeepney drivers.

Compared to neighboring countries in Asia that preserve the trees along roads, Jakosalem said people are trying to kill trees for development in Cebu City.

“We want people development, not urban development. We have turned our city into mega-structures, separating the livability of communities,” Jakosalem said.

Jakosalem said a long-term development approach is needed that is beneficial to both communities and the business sector.

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