BY ADRIAN P. NEMES III
The Department of Public Works and Highways will plant 2,500 saplings of various tree species tomorrow morning to replace the 25 decades-old trees beside the old airport in Brgy. Singcang, Bacolod City that it had cut.
But Bacolod District Engineer Jaime Javellana told the DAILY STAR that the tree planting activity will be held in Brgy. Bagong Silang, Salvador Benedicto, Negros Occidental.
Councilor Carl Lopez, chairman of the Sangguniang Panlungsod Committee on Environment, said he will meet with the DPWH and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to ask them if some of the 2,500 seedlings could instead be planted in a vacant lot in Brgy. Alangilan in Bacolod.
Lopez said the DENR has a standing memorandum that states that a hundred seedlings should be planted to replace each tree cut. But the DENR did not specify if the seedlings to be planted as replacement would be of the same species as those that were cut.
With the replenishment of the trees cut, Javellana said that, hopefully, the bashing against the DPWH will finally stop, adding that they only wanted to ensure the safety of the public.
He also said that the report and pictures that earlier surfaced on social media of the trees cut at the old airport being sold in a lumber yard is not true.
Javellana said they sent personnel to the lumber yard along with the police and they found out that those were not the trees that they cut.
Those trees are in the custody of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office in Bago City, as stated in the tree-cutting permit issued to the DPWH.
Bacolod Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran urged officials of Brgy. Singcang yesterday to take into custody the timber from the decades-old trees, based on what was stipulated in the Resolution of No Objection (RONO) passed by the SP.
Familiaran was the presiding officer when the RONO was issued to the DPWH that allowed it to proceed with the cutting of trees as part of the off-carriage improvement and shoulder-paving project along the Bacolod South Road.
Singcang Brgy. Captain Rosinie Distrito, who earlier stressed that the barangay gave the go-signal, thinking that the DPWH will only prune the trees, said the timber are not in their custody.
The committee formed by Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia to investigate the tree-cutting activities of the DPWH already convened last week, City Legal Officer Joselito Bayatan said. Bayatan, who heads the investigating committee, said their main goal is to conduct fact-finding to know the real reason why the trees were cut, adding that they are going to look at underlying issues and will verify applicable laws and guidelines in connection with the incident.*