By J. Jala | 11:12 PM December 14, 2020
Boholanos are conducting an online petition drive to save century-old trees along the highway in Barangay Guio-ang in Guindulman town.
The online petition, based on the change.org Web site with the title “URGENT APPEAL: Save the Roadside Heritage Trees in Brgy. Guio-ang, Guindulman, Bohol” and drafted by Bohol Eco Alliance, argued that
while many Bol-anons are greening their yards and homes to cultivate healthy and beautiful environs and to help ease their stresses and anxieties wrought by the pandemic, some government entities are cutting down the majestic rain trees along the national highway in eastern Bohol.
Last Friday, December 11, 2020, the DPWH-Bohol 3rd District Engineering Office has begun pruning and cutting at least two (2) large and majestic roadside akasya’s or rain trees (Samanea saman) in Barangay Guiao-ang in Guindulman.
“Although these ‘tree cutting’ and ‘tree pruning/ trimming’ activities have been granted permits by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) Talibon, Bohol citing safety considerations – as ‘elaborated’ in the permit billboard to be “leaning towards the roadside and to the residing communities and definitely pose imminent danger to lives and properties” within its vicinity – residents, however, attest that these trees have stood there for generations and have, in fact, prevailed against typhoons, earthquakes, and other natural calamities without causing harm to anyone, ” Bohol Eco Alliance wrote in the petition.
It said the many environmental benefits, ecological services, and socio-cultural values of trees, and in this case, large, centuries-old legacy trees, to our community and ecosystem cannot be overstated.
The two heritage rain trees in Guindulman which the DPWH has begun to cut down are just a couple of the many heritage trees that are felled and/or pruned willy nilly by both public and private infra and utility companies. Just ahead on the highway in the same barangay, there are two more large rain trees which residents fear will be next in line for the chop.
“We, therefore, appeal to the DPWH-Bohol 3rd District Engineering Office to immediately suspend all pruning, trimming, and other injurious activities that lead to the felling of said highway rain trees in Guindulman, Bohol, and elsewhere in Bohol. We also urge the DPWH to seriously consider implementing infrastructure development that does not compromise our already fragile environment and promote, instead, the building of inclusive green streets, roads, boulevards, and highways,” it said.
Bohol Eco Alliance also appealed to the DENR-CENRO Talibon, Bohol to re-assess the tree-cutting and tree-pruning/trimming permits that they’ve provided and, instead, advocate for better ways in addressing ‘public safety’ without resorting to the wanton gutting of heritage trees.
“We also urge the DENR to consider in their purview the management of existing highway trees, and the promotion and propagation of a more robust roadside greenery network,” it said.
Bohol Eco Alliance is also asking the provincial leaders to urgently declare and support a moratorium on cutting of trees in public forest lands, roads, plazas, and other public grounds in Bohol, map/ inventory its heritage trees, and include these in its comprehensive and integrated environmental and cultural conservation program.
“As we reel from the far-reaching effects of the global pandemic and the climate crisis (both direct impacts of environmental destruction and disruption), now, more than ever, is the time to nurture healthier, greener environments,” it said.