BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan criticized the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) central office for their inability to speedily act on numerous requests for the issuance of tree cutting permits for dead and infected trees that pose a serious threat to life, limb and even healthy trees within the different parts of the city.
The local chief executive ventilated his sentiment before officials and employees of the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB), saying that the DENR central office should already devolve such function to its regional offices or the local government executives who now the situation on the ground and who are also equipped with equally capable technical people to assess the status of trees in their respective places.
“We cannot understand why the DENR central office contin7ues to hold on to such power when many dead and infected trees have already fallen and inflicted injuries to innocent people and damages to properties because the requested permits for cutting have yet to be validated by the DENR personnel on the ground and subsequently submit a report relative thereto that have resulted to serious delays,” Domogan stressed.
He cited that even the prestigious conduct of the Fil-Am invitational golf tournament, the largest and longest running amateur golf competition in the Asia-Pacific, was nearly cancelled twice because of the presence of numerous dead trees within the Camp John Hay and Baguio Country Club golf courses which were never issued permits by the DENR central office for still unknown reasons.
The city mayor claimed there is no logic for the DENR central office to be the ones to issue tree cutting permits for dead and infected trees because they rely on reports from their regional offices prior to the issuance of such permits which adds up to such delays that compromise the safety of life and limb and even healthy trees.
According to him, the cutting of dead and infected trees should be classified as emergency because the failure to remove such trees would affect and even infect healthy trees that would spread like fire and might affect the trees within reservations, thus, the need for DENR authorities to review such impractical, and inconsistent with what has been described as transparent and accountable governance.
Henry Adornado, ERDB Director, said their bureau is trying to work out the appropriate procedures in the issuance of dead and infected trees so that there will be no unnecessary delays in the speedy release of such permits to prevent dead trees from inflicting injuries to innocent individuals and damages to properties and for infected trees from affecting health trees within forest reservations, residential areas and parks around the city.
He expressed his gratitude to Mayor Domogan for raising the said issue so that higher authorities will be compelled to act on it because the delayed issuance of tree cutting permits will have a significant effect to the safety of local residents and their properties, especially during the rainy and typhoon seasons.
By Dexter A. See