Resumption of road widening to start soon
SP OKS CUTTING OF TREES
THE Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) belatedly hailed a resolution of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) in March this year that has given the green-and go for the resumption of the widening of roads that will finally cut and remove all trees obstructing the widening to meet the standard 20 meter width of the roads.
The resolution of the SP in March virtually lifted a previous resolution of the past SP a few years ago that opposed the road widening project because of the controversial mass cutting of trees along the Manila North Road from Barangay Carmen in Rosales to Sison town.
The Question Hour of the SP on March 24 attended by DPWH district engineers as well as officials of the Provincial Environment and Natural Offices traced why the road widening program in Pangasinan stalled for some time.
The district engineer of the Fourth Engineering District estimated that there are still more than 200 trees in his area that are still standing on the road stretch to date because the cutting of the trees were stopped due to the opposition of the previous SP to the tree cutting.
The Question Hour was sought by Second District Board Member Von Mark Mendoza who noted the apparent haste in the cutting of tree along the Dagupan-Lingayen Road in Barangay Gayaman, Binmaley to give way to a road side drainage project of the DPWH, while trees in other sections of the national highway remained untouched.
DPWH Legal Officer Mary Rose Milo explained the tree cutting in Barangay Gayaman proceeded after Binmaley Mayor Simplicio Rosario issued a certification manifesting that he interposed no objection to the cutting of trees along that road stretch.
She said trees along the national highway under the jurisdiction of the First Engineering District headed by District Engineer Marietta Mendoza have remained untouched in the absence of a tree cutting permit issued by the PENRO in Alaminos City.
Milo said under the Department Administrative Order of the DPWH, every tree cut under the road widening program must be replaced with 50 tree seedlings to be deposited at PENRO offices to be planted soon at designated planting sites but Forester Maximo Soriano Jr. of PENRO in central Pangasinan, clarified that cut trees can only be disposed of through public bidding or released to national government agencies, like the Department of Education, upon their request.
The board members unanimously agreed that while trees can be replaced, lives lost in in vehicular accidents caused by the trees along the road right of way are “much, much more valuable.” (Leonardo Micua)
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