BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-CAR) disclosed that there is no formal order or memorandum from higher authorities imposing a total ban on the cutting of trees in the city.
DENR-CAR regional director Ralph Pablo informed members of the local legislative body that the pronouncement of Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu last February when he attended the annual alumni homecoming of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) is that it is not that easy to cut trees in the city.
He added that Secretary Cimatu’s pronouncement was never followed up by a formal order emanating from his office which clearly shows that the cutting of trees in the city will have to pass through the appropriate processes prescribed under existing rules and regulations crafted for the purpose.
“We never delayed the issuance of tree-cutting permits to applicants but we have to subject their applications to the processes prescribed under existing orders. We can issue the desired permit within one week from the date it was applied for,” Pablo said.
Under existing issuances of the agency, the central office is mandated to issue tree-cutting permits to applications to cut naturally grown trees and applications for 50 or more planted trees while the regional office is authorized to issue tree-cutting permits to applications for less than 50 trees.
Further, local chief executives are empowered to issued tree cutting permits to dead trees and trees that pose a serious threat to life and property.
Among the major requirements for the issuance of tree cutting permits issued by the agency include letter request from the applicant, proof of ownership of the property where the intended trees to be cut are located, barangay clearance, mayor’s clearance, inventory of the trees that will be cut, building permit issued by the local government to the property owner, and subsequent validation report by personnel of the agency.
According to him, it is illogical for the agency and the local government to delay the issuance of the tree-cutting permit being applied for dead trees considering that the said trees do not already serve their purposes and that the same must be immediately cut to prevent whatever danger it poses to life and property.
He said that the requirements for cutting of trees to be issued by a local chief executive is similar to the requirements being requested by the agency from applicants considering that the initial inspection for the trees being applied to be cut passes through the local government unit prior to the issuance of the clearance which is a requisite for the permit to be issued by the agency.
He claimed that applicants are either mandated to plant the compensatory requirement for the trees that are supposed to be cut or turned over to the agency the replacement of the trees that will be cut for the same to be distributed to organizations and individuals participating in the government’s regreening program pursuant to existing guidelines issued for the said purpose aside from the seedlings being planted in public places around the city.
By Dexter A. See