BACOLOD CITY—An online signature campaign was launched last week urging the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to stop the cutting of 271 trees in Bago City for a road widening project.
As of Sunday, 2,345 had signed the petition at https://www.change.org/p/department-of-public-works-and-highways-killing..., which was started by Sylvia Campos.
“Let’s stop the DENR from approving [the Department of Public Works and Highways’] request to kill 271 beautiful acacia trees along Abuanan Road in Bago City, Negros Occidental, planted 31 years ago. There are other ways to widen the highway. Let’s get this done and set an example of what they cannot do nationwide,” Campos wrote.
Bago Mayor Nicholas Yulo said he was not aware that the trees would be cut until he received reports on Saturday.
Yulo, who had visited the project site, said Abuanan Road was being widened because it would connect to the province’s main highway through Bacolod City.
He said he had invited representatives of the DENR and the DPWH and the petitioners to a dialogue on Wednesday.
Thelma Watanabe, overall coordinator for Oisca (Organization for Industrial, Spiritual and Cultural Advancement) Bago Training Center, said the trees would be felled “in the name of progress.”
Watanabe said the trees were planted by Oisca volunteers from Japan and Bago in 1987 as symbols of friendship between the Japanese and the people of Bago and the Philippines.
She said pruning of the trees’ once beautiful arches that formed a canopy over Abuanan Road had begun.
Freddie Bata-anon, head of the licensing, patents and bids section of the community environment and natural resources office in Bago, confirmed that the DPWH had filed an application for clearance to cut 271 trees for the road widening project.