Church wants John Paul Ave. trees to stay
IF he were to decide, Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Dennis Villarojo said he would want all trees on the center island of Pope John Paul II Avenue to remain.
Sought for reaction last Tuesday, the bishop clarified that the Archdiocese of Cebu never asked the Cebu city government to remove the trees in the center island in front of the seminary compound where the Pavilion for the 51st International Eucharistic Congress was built.
“We have not asked the city to widen the street or eliminate those islands and the trees,” Villarojo said.
“We would rather appreciate that the area be beautified because it would be pleasing for the delagates to see, and it would be very refresing to see trees all around,” he added.
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama plans to remove the trees and replant them elsewhere to reduce the center concrete island for faster traffic flow in preparation for the international gathering which is expected to gather at least 15,000 delegates from Jan. 24 to 31, 2016.
Cebu City Hall’s Parks and Playgrounds Commission said it intends to earthball, not cut, 15 trees along Pope John Paul II Avenue despite an assessment by the Department of Environment and Natural Resouces that only three trees can survive the transfer.
Villarojo said a dialog should be held by City Hall, environment officials, and stakeholders.
“This is our city and all citizens should have a say on what is good for everybody. There should be careful planning and greater consideration as to what truly serves the interest of the city,” he said.
Villarojo said the trees on the center island do not obstruct entry points leading to the seminary.
Half the length of the avenue, from the Ayala access road to the Tesda flyover, will be closed to private vehicles during the week-long IEC.
Passenger jeepneys and taxicabs, however, will be allowed to ply their usual routes.
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