June 17, 2024

Twenty-four trees remain uncut and no developments are being done yet at the private lot where a high-rise building is planned to be put up at Outlook Drive barangay while the city council is yet to wrap up its inquiry on the matter.
But there is no guarantee that the trees will not be cut, as representatives of the Vista Residences, Inc. said they can no longer alter the plan for the high-rise building they intended to put up in the private property.
Vista Residences, Inc. Business Development Head Allan Santos has assured members of the city council they have halted developments within the private property in deference to the council inquiry about the project, but he added the 24 trees will not be saved as they can no longer alter their plans for the complex.
The council is conducting an inquiry in aid of legislation on the developments that led to the issuance of the permit to cut 54 trees that raised oppositions from the city’s environmental activists, including the Diocese of Baguio. Of the 54 trees, 30 were felled on June 21 and 22.
Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda has asked Vista Residences’ representatives if they could spare the remaining trees but Santos said that is no longer possible.
“We can no longer amend the plan, but we can do replanting (of trees within the property) after the development. Trees will be part of the landscaping that will be done after the construction,” Santos said.
“We intend to plant trees within the complex to maintain the lush feel of the complex,” he said.
He said they are willing to wait for the council to finalize its inquiry about Vista Residences’ project. The council is expected to wrap up its probe on Monday, June 13.
Vista Residences, Inc. has until July 15 to implement the cutting of the 54 trees its permit issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources central office.
The developer has donated to the DENR 5,400 seedlings as replacement for the 54 trees and another 5,400 seedlings were donated to the city government of Baguio, through the City Environment and Parks Management Office recently.
DENR-Cordillera Executive Director Ralph Pablo explained to members of the council that the trees are donated by private developers as replacement for the trees they cut within their properties are used during planting activities initiated by the agency, and not necessarily the developers that plant the same.
Cepmo Asst. Department Head Rhenan Diwas said the same practice is observed by the city government.
“Because of saturation, we keep the donated trees at our nursery and we are the ones planting these on Arbor Day or when there are requests. We do this because we want to ensure that survival of the seedlings,” he said. – Jane B. Cadalig