Firms told to explain cutting of 928 trees

By: Michelle Joy L. Padayhag November 10,2015 - 12:53 AM

AN administrative proceeding is set on Nov. 12 to find out who cut down at least 982 trees without a permit in barangay Talavera, Toledo City.

Aside from project developer Sun Asia Energy Inc., representatives of First Toledo Solar Energy Corp., and property owner Gino Baltao were called to the meeting at Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro) in Cebu City

A cease-and-desist order was earlier issued against Sun Asia Energy Inc. by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7 for the destruction of trees without a permit.

“We are also gathering evidence and witnesses for affidavits because we also want to file charges against the culprit that cut the trees,” said Eddie Llamedo, information officer of DENR 7.

A Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) earlier issued to First Toledo Solar Energy Corp. will be scrutinized.

Regional Director William Cuñado of the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau (EMB-7) issued a November 2 notice of violation against the firm for failing to secure a tree cutting permit and a locational clearance on land development activities.

A violation of the ECC draws a P50,000 fine for each provision or is punished by suspension or cancellation of the certificate.

The notice of violation (NOV) was issued to Engr. Sammy Baybay, general manager of First Toledo Solar Energy Corp.

Based on the DENR’s inventory, 982 naturally grown and planted trees were bulldozed and cut down , including a century old Lamio forest tree.

Llamedo said the felled trees will serve as evidence.

“We will also issue an acknowledgment receipt to the barangay Talavera captain. The cut trees will be kept there,” Llamedo said.

DENR-7 Regional Executive Director Isabelo Montejo said the total volume of cut trees is 2,190 cubic meters.

This is 928,560 board feet with an estimated value of f P18.5 million pesos.

The solar power company was issued an ECC last October 17.

The ECC requires the holder to minimize any adverse impact of the project on the communities, including a prohibition on cutting down trees in the area.

If the cutting of trees is unavoidable, the company has to secure a tree-cutting permit from the DENR.

Other requirements include an education and communication (IEC) program to educate stakeholders, a comprehensive social development program (SDP) and a separate report for compliance monitoring report (CMR).

The firm is likewise required to implement a reforestation and carbon sink program using endemic/indigenous species to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of the project.


Related Story: 982 TREES CUT

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TAGS: Cebu, Environmental Compliance Certificate, Toledo City

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