SC permanently bans cutting of trees in Baguio City
Maris Federez • April 12, 2019 • 2251
The Supreme Court has released its decision on Wednesday (April 10) to make permanent the temporary restraining order it issued on March 24, 2015 that restricted the cutting of trees along Luneta Hill for the expansion of a mall in the city.
“The permanent status of the temporary restraining order is without prejudice to the filing of an application of environmental compliance certificate in accordance with existing laws and regulations,” said SC Public Information Office Chief Atty. Brian Keith Hosaka.
The petitioners against the cutting of the trees in the city, however, were not satisfied with the Supreme Court’s decision, saying that the number of trees they were fighting for to save has now dwindled into half.
Glo Abaeo, former President of Cordillera Global Network said over a phone interview that it was a bittersweet victory for them, “because after 7 years ng ipinaglalaban namin, may magandang resulta pero ayun nga naputol na iyong karamihan ng kahoy doon. So from 182, na pinoprotesta namin noon I think 100 or more na yata ang naputol [because after 7 years that we have been fighting, we got good results, but still, many trees had been cut down. So from 182 that we are proresting (to be protected), I think 100 or more were cut down].”
Karlo Altomonte, Spokesperson of Save 182, on the other hand, said, “too late ang lumabas na desisyon. Pero napigilan sana natin yung panggagahasa sa kalikasan ng baguio kung umaksyion ang local government [the decision came too late. But we could have prevented the ravaging of the natural resources of Baguio (City) had the local government acted against it].”
In 2018, the Baguio City Local Government released the guidelines on issuing permits to business establishments about cutting trees.
The guidelines said exceptions on the ban to cut trees include trees that will put establishments and passers-by in danger, such as trees that have been rendered weak by infestation and trees that are already dead. – Maris Federez (with reports from Mai Bermudez)
The Office of the President has distanced itself from the Supreme Court (SC) decision that lifted the temporary restraining order (TRO) on the hearing of the case against former president Benigno Aquino III on the Mamasapano encounter.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo has refused to further comment on the issue as the palace would not want to be accused of meddling with the decision of the judiciary which is a co-equal branch of government.
“[W]e refuse to comment on the action undertaken by the Supreme Court, which belongs to a separate and independent branch of government from ours. We cannot and we do not intend to interfere with the functions of other branches which are distinct from the Executive,” Panelo said.
The palace, he added, would rather see the judicial process roll on its own accord.
“We will, as usual, let the law take its course,” Panelo said. (with details from Rosalie Coz) /mbmf
Nebrija further said that while there is still no court order, the MMDA will still push through with its preparations and their plans for the bus terminal closure, which the agency targets to implement in June.
“We’ll wait kung go or no go but we are still preparing, we’re still pushing with the plan. In the absence of a court order, we will push through with it,” he added.
The MMDA official believes that the impending implementation of the provincial bus ban on Edsa remains as one of the best alternatives to decongest Metro Manila roads.
Nebrija, however, said that they still haven’t come up with a timeline from preparations to implementation as they are still yet to receive the policy guidelines from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).
The MMDA had implemented a dry run of the bus ban in April but suspended it in less than a month.
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