Cebu City Council to intervene in DPWH request to cut 122 trees

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio October 12,2019 - 11:24 AM

At least 122 trees along the Natalio Bacalso Highway in Cebu City is subject for cutting by the Department of Public Works and Highways Central Visayas (DPWH-7) for a road widening project. | CDN File Photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines —The Department of Public Works and Highways in Central Visayas (DPWH-7) plans to cut another 122 trees along the Natalio Bacalso Highway in Cebu City for their upcoming road widening project.

But the Cebu City Council said it will intervene in DPWH-7’s plan as they called the agency to a “Citizen’s Hour.”

The citizen’s hour will happen on October 15 and will give DPWH-7 the platform to explain the details of the road widening project.

Vice Mayor Michael “Mike” Rama said Citizen’s Hour will probe local issues and will call on stakeholders to the stand.

For the October 15 Citizen’s Hour, Rama said the issue on cutting of trees will be tackled.

“We have to do our job in the council. The DPWH should not be able to cut trees without the permission of the city,” said Rama.

He said there is a need to assess the move to cut the trees.

Rama said it has to be clear if the action is the best move and if it is beneficial to the city and its constituents.

Engineer Edgar Tabacon, director of DPWH-7, sent a letter dated October 3, 2019 to the City Council and the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro) asking permission to cut the trees.

This is the second time that the DPWH attempted to cut the trees on Cebu City’s main road.

On June 23, 2017, the DPWH-7 was given a Tree Cutting and Earthballing Permit (TCEP) by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Central Visayas (DENR-7) to cut the trees along Natalio Bacalso Highway.

Because of right of way issues, it was not able to cut the trees within the given 50-day period.

Tabacon, in his letter, said they are seeking the permission of the Cebu City Government to reapply for the TCEP permit on the 122 trees.

Mayor Edgardo Labella said in previous statements that he will not allow the cutting of the trees becauseiit go against the goal of growing three million trees within three years.

John Jigo Dacua, head of Cebu City’s Cenro, said the office has not received the letter from DPWH-7.

But he assured the public that the Cenro will follow the mayor’s directive concerning the trees on N. Bacalso Highway.

“I have not received the letter yet. But I will talk to the mayor on his plans for this. He already said he does not want them cut so the Cenro will heed his directive,” said Dacua.

Dacua said he agrees with the plans of the City Council to hold a Citizen’s Hour to discuss with the DPWH-7 their request to cut the trees.

He said he is willing to face the council to present the Cenro’s opinion on the matter. / celr

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TAGS: Cebu City Council, cutting of trees, cutting of trees in Cebu, Department of Environment and Natural Resources l Resources-, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 7, Environmental Issue, Natalio Bacalso Highway, Tree Cutting and Earthballing Permit (TCEP)

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