THE Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mercy (CICM) is asking the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to reconsider the cutting of trees at the Home Sweet Home, where its convent and monastery are located.
The DPWH had started cutting trees last week in the area, supposedly to ease the traffic at Governor Pack Road.
According to CICM, DPWH is set to cut 36 matured trees, most of these pine trees, in the area.
“We maintain that an integral part of Baguio City’s natural charm to local and international tourists as the “Summer Capital of the Philippines” is the presence of pine trees,’ wrote Fr. Jesse Hechanova, CICM provincial superior, in his letter to Engr. Rene F. Zarate, district engineer of DPWH Baguio.
“It is for this reason that Baguio City is known as “the City of Pines,” he added.
“More than the refreshing green sights provided by these trees, there are undeniable environmental benefits like the reduction of air pollution and the prevention of soil erosion that these majestic pine trees give us. Trees are the lungs of the Earth,” the former president of the Saint Louis University added.
“But we are saddened that the remaining green spaces are decreasing at an alarming rate. It is our responsibility to protect and preserve what is left of the green patches in Baguio City to ensure a sustainable healthy environment for future generations,” Fr. Hechanova added.
Fr. Geraldo Costa, who works as counselor at the SLU Sunflower Children’s Center, located at Happy Homes, also made the same appeal. “Thirty-six trees might be cut to give way to a road project. Could progress respect nature and God’s creation?” he said in his letter to the DPWH.
City Environment and Natural Resources Officer Leandro De Jesus said that the contractor of the DENR also applied for the cutting permit for 32 trees and that he has suspended the cutting until further notice.
“As of now, only eight trees have been cut. These include four agoho, two pine trees and two avocado trees,” De Jesus said.
He said that the cutting has been suspended pending investigation of the possible violations of the contractor.
He said that some of the trees spared from the cutting had their roots exposed which entails remediation measures before the cutting can resume.