By MANLY M. UGALDE
NAGA CITY, CamSur: The 651 old and giant trees along the national road in this city are scheduled to be cut once the road-widening project of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) starts.
Mayor John Bongat said considering the roads involved in the widening are big enough to accommodate four lanes, the trees should be spared and the space on both sides of the road be designated as bicycle and jogging lanes instead.
He said condemning the trees aged between 40 years and 60 years would be painful.
In the inventory conducted by the City Hall Environment and Natural Resources Office (Enro), Enro officer Oscar Orosco said the 651 trees which line the entrance of this city’s “poblacion” make the site a “barren and lonely sight indeed”.
Orozco said the trees affected are those at the national highway of Concepcion Pequena, Concepcion Grande, Del Rosario and Mabulo, the areas covered by the road widening to four lanes.
He said the trees are narra, mango, acacia, mahogany and talisay, all providing shade, beauty and life in the vicinity.
DPWH Regional Director Danilo Dequito said there is a need to make the roads to four lanes, citing the volume of vehicles passing the area.
He said the additional lane from both sides of the road could not be done without cutting the trees.
Concepcion Grande barangay captain Elmer Baldemoro said the government could find better use for the funds allotted for the road widening to other projects.
He said the trees are in already widened roads and are in areas beautified by the presence of old trees.
During the consultation meeting, however, most of the attendees composed of representatives from the DPWH, the Department of Environment and Natural Resoures, local officials, and their constituents, favored the road-widening project and the cutting of the trees.
DPWH officials said every tree cut would be replaced with 50 trees of the same variety.
Camarines Sur Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office chief Arnel Rodriguez said his office will issue the corresponding permit to cut, saying he sees nothing wrong with the condemnation of the trees to give way to the widening project. - BusinessMirror