DENR-7 seeks custody of felled trees

By Michelle Joy L. Padayhag |November 13,2015 - 01:46 AM
One of the trees cut in Toledo City estimated to be over a century old.

One of the trees cut in Toledo City estimated to be over a century old.

AFTER 982 trees were found illegally cut down in a private lot in Toledo city, who will keep the felled trees?

Renewable energy developer SunAsia Energy, Inc. should turn over the  trees  cut down in the Baltao property to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7, an official said.

“Our custodian will be barangay Talavera captain Nestor Mahinog. The company should turn over those cut trees. Sila maoy dapat motapok (They should be the ones to gather them),” said Raul Pasoc, Community Environment and Natural Resources officer (CENRO) for Cebu City.

As of 4 p.m. yesterday, the cut trees were left scattered in the property of Gino Baltao in barangay Talavera, Toledo City, where land was being cleared for  SunAsia’s proposed 60-megawatt First Toledo Solar Power Project.

A scheduled   administrative hearing of CENRO for the tree cutting  did not push through yesterday.

“That (turnover) was our agreement prior to the scheduled hearing. We still have to conduct another inventory,” Pasoc told reporters.

Barangay chairman Mahinog said he would  call the attention of SunAsia.

Project representatives  went to the CENRO Cebu City yesterday to hand over a letter requesting to postpone the  hearing to 9 a.m. of November 26 to give the company time to prepare a sworn statement.

They refused to be interviewed. The letter was signed by Engineer Sammy Baybay, general manager of First Toledo Solar Power Project.

Pasoc said charges will be filed against those responsible for cutting the trees without a permit based on the results of their investigation. He declined to elaborate.

Based on the report by Lutherian Hernand, supervisor for DENR Toledo Station, the trees may have been cut down in September but this was verified only on October 26.

“Some of the cut trees were bulldozed and covered with soil. Few individuals were asked by the team as regards the person/s responsible in the cutting but nobody dared to identify them,” the report read.

Among the trees felled was a century-old Lamio. Others were Tipolo, Pangantoon, Bangkal, Bagalunga, Lanutan, Acacia, Narra, Mahogany, and Gmelina.

There were 27 trees of different species that have not been felled, but were marked with “X”.

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