Data on number of pine trees in Baguio sought

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BAGUIO CITY  – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan is open to the join conduct of an inventory to ascertain the number of pine trees and the status of the same to serve as a guide to policy makers and decision makers in the crafting of programs and projects for their sustainable preservation and protection.

Further, the local chief executive also directed the City Environment and Parks Management Office (CEPMO) to conduct a census on the number of pine trees that were planted by those who were issued tree cutting permits by the local government to determine their status that will allow the concerned offices to have a database o on the prevailing number of pine trees that are existing and on what means they were planted.

“We issued a directive to the members of our inspection team to include as their additional member a representative from the environment department so that all their actions on matters concerning the issuance of tree cutting permits will be closely coordinated with the said department to prevent whatever confusions when it comes to determining the responsible officials who issued such permits,” Domogan stressed.

Under existing, laws, rules and regulations, the environment department is empowered to issue tree cutting permits, except in in emergency cases.

Moreover, individuals and businesses that were issued tree cutting permits are mandated to plant at least 10 tree seedlings for every tree that was cut as compensatory requirement for the matured trees that were cut for whatever purpose.

Earlier, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu expressed concern over the increasing number of trees that are reportedly dying and that he called on concerned offices within the department to conduct a study on the state of the pine trees in the city and the city of its environment to guide him in whatever necessary actions that will help in deciding the needed assistance that could be granted in ensuring the survival of the trees.

Domogan pointed out that Secretary’s Cimatu’s directive is a welcome development to augment the existing initiatives of the local government in pursuing the appropriate short- medium and long-term programs that will guarantee the presence of the trees that could be passed on to generations of inhabitants.

According to him, it is important for the local government’s inspection to team to have a database on the compliance of the individuals and businesses that were issued the appropriate tree cutting permits to allow the local government to know the areas where the trees were planted for whatever purpose, especially in determining if the said individuals and businesses were able to fulfil their obligations and not just for a show on their part.

Benguet pine is endemic to the Cordillera and contributes in helping sustain the cool weather condition of localities located in highly elevated areas and provides the scene of pine in the city’s air.

Baguio City still owns the distinction of the country’s undisputed Summer Capital because of its prevailing cool and unique weather condition that continues to attract the influx of thousands of visitors from the lowland and Metro Manila areas. For them to spend a well-deserved break in the highest city in the country.

By Dexter A. See
Banner photo by Armanado M. Bolislis

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