Objection to the Cutting of 71 trees along Maharlika Highway

              A pleasant morning to everyone! I would like to take this opportunity, in this privilege time, to speak to my co-leagues in the Sangguniang Panlungsod and to express in public my objection to the upcoming cutting of 71 trees along Maharlika Highway traversing Barangay Del Rosario, this City.

              Two months ago, the DPWH had already applied for a Special Tree Cutting Permit to the DENR for the 71 trees to which I seek for the Sangguniang Panglungsod of Naga to object to by way of resolution.

              Two week ago, at least two groups approached me to raise their concern and asked if I could help re-open the discussion of the cutting of trees along the National Roads to give way to the DPWH’s Road Widening project. One group is called “They Grey, We Green” and some of the 2021 City Youth Officials led by City Youth Mayor Berl Montes. These groups are presently working with the Institute for Environmental Conservation and Research and the Ignatian Legal Apostolate Office of the Ateneo de Naga University – College of Law which recently issued a legal memorandum that could serve as basis for the City Government of Naga to assert against the cutting of trees.

              Ang punto po ninda. “Dae kaipuhan purutulon ang mga puno. Dae simbag ang pagpadkola sana kan tinampo (na ginigibo man sanang parkingan) para solusyunan ang traffic. Asin tano ta dae ta nalang pagayunon an satong mga tiglalakawan para sa mga tao asin para sa mga nagbibisikleta, ta an satuyang mga tinampo bako man sana para sa kotse, kundi para man sa mga pedestrians. Baka sa paaging iyan mas maengganyo ta an mga Nagueno na mas tankilikon an active modes of transport para sa mas marhay na salud asin komunidad.

              When these groups approached me for help, I asked: What is your proposal to the DPWH and the City Government? Last week this same group presented this proposal from the United Architects of the Philippines – CamSur as an alternative solution to the cutting of trees based on an actual walk-through of the area concerned.

              Madam Chair, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am submitting to this august chamber a proposed resolution objecting to the issuance of a special tree cutting permit for the 71 trees along Maharlika Highway on the basis of Resolution No. 2018-323 and requesting the DPWH to submit compliance to:             

              Administrative issuances from NGAs that have already been issued providing for the legal basis for the NGAs and LGUs to improve road designs and promote active transport facilities and infrastructures along National Roads:

  • DO No. 88-2020 of the DPWH which provides that all projects of DPWH that involve new roads or expansions such as road widening projects shall include in its design the provision of bicycle facility;
  • JAO 2020-001 of the DOH, DoTr, DILG and DPWH which also provide that National Roads or bridges under the jurisdiction of the DPWH shall allocate bicycle lanes made of colored asphalt or other similar materials that are protected from motorized vehicles using, in order of priority: concrete barriers, metal barriers, traffic cones or lane markers, lighting and reflectors among others depending on its feasibility;
  • In the same JAO, it was also provided that walking paths are recommended to have a landscape or furniture zone for plants or trees which provide added protection from vehicular traffic, as well as shade.

              Lastly, I commend and thank all the volunteer groups and people dedicating so much volunteer time and effort to research and work for a Naga City that they will continue to cherish. Dear colleagues, there was a time when I used to love walking along San Felipe and Magsaysay because of the big and beautiful trees lined up providing shade and ecological balance in our urban landscape but now it all gone. All I see now are pavements and asphalt and still we see traffic. Perhaps, there is a better way where we can give our trees a chance.

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