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The City Council, during last Monday’s regular session, requested the Cordillera office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-CAR) and the City Environment and Parks Management Office (CEPMO) to speed up the issuance of the relevant permits for the immediate cutting of dead trees and trees that pose serious threat to the main lines of the Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) to prevent unnecessary power outages during heavy downpour and natural calamities.
In a resolution, city legislators stated that, to avoid foreseeable unscheduled power interruption, the DENR-CAR and CEPMO should find ways on how to speed up the issuance of the corresponding permits for the immediate cutting dead trees or trees that possess serious threat to the BENECO main lines that affect the steady power supply not only in the city but also in the franchise area of the rural electric cooperative.
The council pointed out that in the new normal, electricity is vital in the lives of the people, particularly the teachers, students and those working online, and that unscheduled power outages caused by falling trees should be avoided so as not to interrupt the smooth flow of the city’s economy.
With the projection of the country’s weather bureau that the La Niña phenomenon will prevail in Luzon until the first quarter of next year, the council stipulated there will be a likely possibility that the foundation of the dead trees will be saturated with water that will eventually cause the same to fall on the power lines anytime.
According to the council, the occurrence of unscheduled power interruptions caused by fallen dead trees or trees that fall on BENECO power lines should have been avoided if the same had been immediately removed or cut as per the recommendation of concerned offices.
Under the prevailing guidelines for the issuance of tree cutting permits, the local chief executive is empowered to issue tree cutting permits for dead trees or trees that pose a serious threat to life and limb upon the recommendation of the CEPMO.
On the other hand, the DENR-CAR is charge of issuing tree cutting permits for live trees and those that are naturally grown upon the recommendation of the agency’s technical personnel.
However, natural grown trees that are cut for development purposes must be replaced by a ratio of 1:100 while planted trees that are cut for similar purposes should be replaced with a ration of 1:50 and that the compensatory requirement must be planted in the identified tree planting sites under the government’s enhanced National Greening Program (NGP).
Most of the unscheduled power interruptions that happen within BENECO’s franchise area are caused by fallen dead trees or trees that pose a serious threat to the power lines that had not be cut because of the tedious process involved prior to the issuance of the required tree cutting permit from either the involved local government or the concerned government agency.
Copies of the approved resolution will be transmitted to the concerned offices for their information and appropriate action. By Dexter A. See