February 27, 2024

Mayor Benjamin Magalong expressed displeasure over the cutting of trees at Barangay Outlook Drive.

“We are saddened because we feel it is a big blow to our regreening master plan amidst our request to the Office of the President for a tree-cutting moratorium,” the mayor said.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources issued Permit SPLTP CAR-58-2020 dated May 4 to Vista Residences Inc. for the cutting of 53 Benguet pine and one Norfolk pine at Purok 3 Outlook Drive to pave the way for a building construction project.

Circumstances like this emphasizes the need to hasten the issuance of the moratorium on tree-cutting and construction of high rise buildings in the city by the national government, according to the mayor.

“While the proposed moratorium has been taken over by this health crisis, we need to follow this up to ensure that our remaining trees will be preserved,” Magalong said.

DENR-CAR records showed that the property owner applied for a special private land timber permit in 2018, went through the lengthy process and complied with all the requirements including securing an Environmental Clearance Certificate, barangay certificate and mayor’s clearance which can only be issued after ample investigations and public consultations.

The ECC was issued in 2017, barangay clearance on Sept. 11, 2018 and mayor’s clearance on Oct. 1, 2018.

Records further showed that the company was required to redesign the original plan to reduce the number of trees to be affected.

The owner also complied with the compensatory requirement of 100 tree seedlings to each tree felled.

In a meeting with the DENR-CAR executives led by Regional Executive Director Ralph Pablo and the property owner June 25, the mayor asked the owner represented by Engr. Ferdinand Salcedo to double the replacement to 200 per downed tree to which the representative agreed. – Aileen P. Refuerzo