BAGUIO CITY – The two matured Agoho trees at Malcolm square were trimmed into minimum branches for preservation and to allow further rejuvenation, personnel from the City Environment and Parks Management Office (CEPMO) clarified.
In a letter to Mayor Mauricio Domogan and CEPM Officer Cordelia Lacsamana, Public Services Officers Jones Gas-ib and Arturo Killip said they were earlier briefed on which branches to cut; shaped to accommodate decorations for the opening of Malcolm Square on Nov. 20 and inauguration on December 1. Upon inspection just after Typhoon Lawin, the two found the trees’ root base loose, and could not support a heavy top. Should another strong typhoon hit the city, the trees could collapse, endangering life and property, they decided.
The findings and the urgency of the matter, with their superior who could authorize its cutting with a proper permit, on a three-day seminar, pushed the two to order the cutting of the heavy branches. Another mature tree in the area was also cut due to a root disease; and for it to rejuvenate with lower branches to help with support; and withstand winds.
The sight of two bald trees, despite the promise that no tree shall be cut in the rehabilitation of Malcolm Square earned the ire of Baguio citizens and environmentalists, who questioned the action in social media.
The mayor who earlier said he was “shocked” t o see the cut trees at Malcolm Square said he does not blame those who reacted to the loss of tree branches. Four 14-foot Norfolk pines shall be planted within the park to help in Carbon sequestration along lower Session road, he said. The CEPMO is given instructions to ensure survival of said trees, it was known.
The clarifications, as well as apologies of Killip and Gas-ib shall be submitted to the Human Resource and Management Office for evaluation if there are grounds for disciplinary action, the mayor said.
The tree-trimming activities were part of the renovation and beautification of Malcolm Square, to be opened in time for Christmas in Baguio activities.
By Julie Fianza