By Tara Yap
Iloilo City—The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will not issue a clearance to cut the trees that will supposedly pave the way for a road expansion project in Bago City, Negros Occidental province.
“No permit will be issued anymore,” said Jim Sampulna, DENR regional director for Western Visayas.
This is after Sampulna ordered DENR’s office in Bago City to issue a stoppage order against the contractor of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for illegally pruning 271 acacia trees along Abuanan Road.
While DPWH’s contractor did apply for a cutting permit, DENR never issued a permit. The tree trimming was still in violation of the Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines.
Sampulna told Manila Bulletin that DENR is filing a case against DPWH’s contractor for the illegal trimming of trees.
Sampulna credited public vigilance for bringing the incident to the attention of the DENR’s regional office.
Last week, news and photos of the pruned trees circulated in various social networking sites. An online petition was launched to save the trees, 100 of which were planted almost 31 years ago as a symbol of Philippine-Japan friendship.
Sampulna also ordered Joan Nathaniel Gerangaya, DENR’s officer in Bago City, to fully explain the incident.
“It happened under his nose. Why did he wait for the public uproar?” Sampulna said.