June 14, 2024

Martin Polinday is one of the few tree management expert employees of the City Environment and Parks Management Office.

Polinday’s team is in charge of complicated incidents involving trees in the ongoing disaster response operations during and after Typhoon Egay’s onslaught last July 26.

Cepmo Head Atty. Rhenan Diwas gushed, “Bilib ako sa skill ni Mr. Martin, along with his team, to safely manage the removal of this approximately 30-meter leaning pine tree at Loakan Road.”

The tree was among the over 100 felled or damaged by the destructive rains and winds packed by the howler. Clearing operations took days and involved intricate procedure, especially for large-sized ones.

Diwas said Cepmo has four teams assigned in their urban forest management division and during calamities. They serve as responders to tree emergency incidents.

Of the four teams, only two are experts in intricate situations involving huge trees.

During calamities, these experts tackle the cutting or pruning of trees in complicated scenarios while the other two teams along with responders from the Baguio City Police Office, Baguio Fire Station, Public Order and Safety Division, and other volunteers take charge of incidents involving regular-sized trees.

“Cepmo is really focusing on the management of complex tree scenarios that go beyond the capacity of other offices and agencies. One such instance is this leaning tree along Loakan Road, where our team spent three hours to safely remove and clear the area,” Diwas said.

“Dealing with such a large and precarious tree required a thorough and careful assessment. The tree’s length of approximately 30 meters and the inability of the boom truck to reach the top branches posed significant challenges. As a result, we had to devise a plan and implement preventive measures before proceeding with the cutting operation. This assessment helped us determine the safest approach to cutting the tree without compromising personnel safety or risking any catastrophic accidents.”

Diwas said to be ready for future calamities, they will include in their regular office program the enhancement of their disaster response capability.

They will train more personnel and volunteers on expert tree management techniques. Eventually, they will organize a response cluster composed of these trained personnel and volunteers and they will comprise the Cepmo response team to work alongside other City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council response teams during typhoons and other calamities. – Aileen P. Refuerzo