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DENR stops tree cutting in Pinamungajan hospital

By: Jose Santino S. Bunachita February 04,2015 - 10:52 AM
Mahogany logs lay on the ground outside the Pinamungajan District Hospital. The DENR said the cutting is illegal. Another agency, the Dept. of Health is building a maternity center there. (DENR 7 PHOTO)

Mahogany logs lay on the ground outside the Pinamungajan District Hospital. The DENR said the cutting is illegal. Another agency, the Dept. of Health is building a maternity center there. (DENR 7 PHOTO)

No special permit to cut 65 trees of Gmelina, mahogany; Area cleared for gov’t project

The district hospital in Pinamungajan, western Cebu was ordered to stop cutting trees for its expansion project because it  lacks a tree cutting permit.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7 issued the stoppage order last Monday.

At least  65 assorted trees mostly Gmelina and mahogany were already cut down to give way for an extension building of the Dr. Jose Maria V. Borromeo Memorial District Hospital in barangay Pandacan.

Capitol information officer Ethel Natera told Cebu Daily News that the Department of Health (DOH) was financing the construction of a Comprehensive Emergency Maternal Obstetric and New Born Care building there.

The cease and desist order (CDO) signed by Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer (CENRO) Toledo City Fedencio Carreon was addressed to Chief of Hospital Dr. Feleus B. Bascon.

“I directed provincial environment and natural resources officer Jose Cleo Colis to constitute a team to investigate the matter and to submit a report immediately so that we can make the appropriate actions,” said DENR 7 Regional Director Dr. Isabelo Montejo in a press release.

He said the DENR 7’s legal division is also studying possible cases to be filed against parties involved.

“We did not issue a special tree cutting permit for the project and no clearance was given by the DENR Central Office,” he said.

The tree cutting was allegedly done last week.

An inventory  by CENRO Toledo City last January 22 showed that the project would affect 36 mahogany trees and 10 Gmelina trees.

In their inquiry last Monday, DENR foresters  Mark Grejaldo and  Lutherian Hernando  advised the chief of hospital to stop the transport of flitches or slabs of timber cut from a tree away from the hospital compound.

The team found out  that 2,095 board feet of flitches were taken out from the hospital premises and were taken to the nearby barangay Bato.

“It should not be transported as it needs the needed transport documents,” they said.

These trees were planted sometime in 1993. They were an average height of six meters and mostly  30 centimeters wide.

The tree with the largest  girth measured  39 centimeters. The  smallest was  around 15 centimeters. Both are mahogany.

The hospital sits on a 300-square-meter property donated to the Cebu provincial government by the Borromeo clan several years ago.

Under  Section 3 of Republic Act No. 3571, no cutting, destroying, or injuring of planted or growing trees, flowering plants and shrubs or plants of scenic value along public roads, in plazas, parks other than national parks, school premises or in any other public ground shall be permitted.

Under Presidential Decree  No. 953,  the same violation draws a penalty of six  months to two years in prison or a  fine of P500 to P5,000 or both as decided by the court.

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