July 17, 2024

A total of 130 trees were either felled or damaged by super typhoon Egay which hammered the city last July 26.

The City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office under Officer-in-Charge Glenn Lardizabal said reports of fallen or leaning trees damaging or threatening structures came pouring in from different parts of the city as the cyclone pounded the city with torrential rains and gusty winds.

Several teams from the City Environment and Parks Management Office, Baguio City Police Office, Baguio Fire Station, Public Order and Safety Division, and other volunteers scrambled to attend to the reported incidents and addressed as many as they could amid the howler’s fury.

As of press time on July 28, the teams were continuing to respond to the incidents based on priority.

The city appealed to owners of chainsaws to lend their equipment after available units failed to cope with the demand due to voluminous requests.

Cepmo Department Head Atty. Rhenan Diwas had authorized punong barangays to cut down live and dead trees posing immediate danger to the public under an expedited reporting process from July 27 to 31. 

This is to “facilitate swift action in identifying and removing leaning and dead trees that pose danger to the public” in view of the limited capacity of the response teams vis-à-vis the volume of incidents received.

Diwas said they have four teams assigned in their urban forest management program and during calamities, they serve as responders to tree emergency incidents.

They are augmented by the teams from the BCPO, fire station, POSD, and other volunteers.

Diwas said after this calamity, they will conduct assessment of trees located in public areas and along roads to conduct preventive cutting and pruning in preparation for the other typhoons that are coming.

They will also work on enhancing their disaster response capability by training more personnel and volunteers on expert tree cutting techniques and organize a cluster that will be on hand during disasters.

To address the loss of trees, the office will continue to strengthen its tree planting and rearing program in cooperation with the residents. – Aileen P. Refuerzo