Mahogany trees cut

VM Rama says cutting of 300 trees for new cemetery should have gone through proper process

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio - CDN Digital | July 10,2020 - 09:09 AM

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Around 300 trees were cut in Barangay Guba here to pave the way for the development of a new public cemetery to address the shortage of burial spaces due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

The City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) Enforcement and Monitoring Section revealed that the trees were cut down illegally by the construction firm tasked to develop the lot in the mountain village.

Read: Cebu City finds lot in Barangay Guba for public cemetery

Construction has been stopped since, according to a report from ABS-CBN News.

Cebu City Vice Mayor Michael Rama, the city council’s chairperson for the committee on environment, said the cutting of the trees should have gone through the proper process.

“There is a rule of law to be followed. That is what happens when we hurry and we forget to follow the law. Why, are we under martial law? And even if we are, are laws no longer to be followed?” said Rama in a phone interview with CDN Digital.

The development of the lot started even before the City Council tackled the proposed ordinance filed by Councilor Dave Tumulak.

Read: Tumulak: Cebu City needs new cemetery, crematorium to address shortage of burial spaces

It was supposed to be filed last Wednesday, July 8, but was moved to Friday, July 10.

Rama said they will discuss in today’s special session the issue on the proposed new cemetery in Barangay Guba.

“Cutting the trees without a permit from the DENR? That is not proper. We have to go through the process,” Rama said.

The vice mayor reminded the executive department not to forget that even with urgency, the law should be followed when implementing projects.

CDN Digital has reached out to DENR-7 for comments but hasn’t got a reply as of this posting.

Meanwhile, Tumulak explained why the development of the area, which is part of the Cebu City Protected Landscape, started even without the approval of the City Council.

“As of now, they have started building the cemetery even without the ordinance passed because there is urgency,” said Tumulak, who also revealed that most of the trees cut were mahogany trees

Read: Cebu City eyes new public cemetery

Tumulak said one resident from the village planted those mahogany trees and that the farmer who planted the trees agreed to its cutting as long as he gets to keep the wood from the cut down trees.

The councilor, who authors the proposed ordinance for the Cebu City Public Cemetery, said there is a sense of urgency in the building of this cemetery as the death toll in the city is rising due to the COVID-19.

The councilor claimed that Guba officials did not object to the development of the cemetery. /bmjo


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TAGS: 300 mahogany trees cut, Barangay Guba, Cebu City, Dave Tumulak, new cemetery, Vice Mayor Michael Rama

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