DENR lifts desist order; city starts pruning trees
In time for the celebration of Earth Day today, the earth-balling and transfer of more than 20 trees left in the center island of S. Osmeña Road can proceed after a cease-and-desist order was lifted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
“Very good. Ipakuha dayon (Have it removed immediately),” said Cebu CIty Mayor Michael Rama.
At past 2 p.m., workers of the Parks and Playground Commission (PPC) started pruning the trees.
“The trees started to wither even if we water them because of the very hot weather,” PPC parks administrator Arlie Gesta said.
Gesta said they can start the earth-balling on Friday.
“After pruning, we have to wait for two to three days before we can ball out. We also have to prepare the sites where the trees will be transferred,” he said.
The sites are in Plaza Independencia, Plaza Sugbo, Magellan’s Park and Block 27 of the North Reclamation Area.
On Monday the DENR 7 lifted its freeze order issued last year against the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH-7) after the agency provided 7,900 new seedlings.
These seedlings will replace the 79 trees that were surreptitiously removed from the center island of S. Osmeña Road a year ago when the concrete road was being rehabilitated by a private contractor.
For each missing tree, the DENR required 100 seedlings to replace them.
The seedlings were housed at Camp Marina in barangay Capitol Site and will be planted in mountain barangays of -Babag, Bonbon, Busay, Cambinocot, Sirao and other parts of central Cebu City.
DENR 7 information officer Eddie Llamedo said the DPWH should secure a new earth-balling permit since their previous permit expired.
He said any earth-balling of the remaining trees along S. Osmeña Road can now continue.
“The DPWH and the Cebu City Parks and Playgrounds Commission should inform us the schedule of their earth-balling,” he said.
DPWH-7 Regional Director Ador Canlas said he hasn’t received the letter from the DENR yet and declined to comment on the report until he sees it.
WT Construction Inc., the contractor of the P285 million road concreting project of S. Osmeña road, said they’re willing to lend their equipment for the earth-balling.
WT project consultant Engr. Adolfo Quiroga said the project is 90 percent completed.
Llamedo said it’s best to do this early morning or late in the afternoon so the trees won’t be dehydrated and they can be re-planted immediately.
He also said the lifting of the CDO won’t affect the criminal case DENR filed against WT Construction for illegal destruction of trees.
The Cebu city prosecutor’s office dismissed the case but the DENR is pursuing it.
“We filed our motion for reconsideration because this is based on government policy. The DPWH is the permit holder, not WT Construction,” Llamedo said.
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