BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance requiring the installation of tree cutting signages in all government and private development projects in the city, especially the ones involving the cutting or removal of trees.
The ordinance authored by Councilor Elaine D. Sembrano stated that project implementers, contractors or owners of projects or activities, involving the cutting or removal of trees shall be required to install signages measuring at least 3 feet by 4 feet along the road nearest to the project site or place of the trees to be cut, and if the tree cutting site is not along the road hidden from public view, signages shall be installed at the frontage of the barangay hall where the project is located.
The ordinance added that the signages shall contain information pertaining to the name of the project, name and address of permittee, permit number to be used as reference regarding any query on the tree cutting activity and specific office in charge and telephone numbers of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources–Cordillera Administrative Region (DENR-CAR) and the City Environment and Parks Management Office (CEPMO).
According to the proposal, the presentation of the signages shall be a requirement in the issuance of the tree cutting endorsements by the barangay and the city government.
The ordinance stipulated the tree cutting signages shall be installed at the places indicated in the proposed local legislative measure at least 15 days before the actual tree cutting schedule.
The barangay and city government endorsements shall be deemed suspended in case of the uncovered violation of the measure and subsequently, compliance and restoration of the effectivity of the local government endorsements shall be indicated on the tree cutting endorsements.
Sembrano claimed that in many instances when trees are felled or proposed to be cut, there is uproar from concerned citizens and the public on the tree cutting activities only to find out that a permit was issued, allegedly causing inconvenience to the permittee and the issuing offices or government officials involved and this would be avoided if information is available and accessible.
The ordinance underscored it is constitutional policy to fully disclose all transactions of the State involving public welfare and interest.
Currently, applications for tree cutting permit are accompanied by duly accomplished application form, authenticated copy of ownership of the land, inventory fee as provided under the provisions of DENR Administrative Order No. 2004-16, photographs of trees to be removed, harvesting plan, site development plan, Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) for big projects and barangay and city government endorsements or certification of no objection.
Under present rules and regulations, the local government is authorized to issue emergency tree cutting permits for trees that pose danger to life and limb, thus, the need for the immediate felling of the trees while the DENR is mandated to issue the tree cutting permits for the cutting of more than 10 trees that are to be cut for the implementation of government and private development projects.
By Dexter A. See