EDITORIAL :Too late the hero(es)?

February 16, 2014 at 9:57 pm Leave a comment

After announcing that he will be running for governor in Pangasinan in 2016 elections, former 5th District Rep. Mark O. Cojuangco categorically claimed responsibility for the cutting of trees on the sides of MacArthur Highway from Villasis, Urdaneta City, Binalonan, Pozorrubio and Sison.

The 1,829 trees -narra, mahogany, acacia, mango,etc., were only marked for cutting last November last year after the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) issued the permit for cutting to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). It was to give way to the road widening project along the mentioned municipalities. To date, 70% or 1,280 trees have been cut and the permit of cutting on February 14 his year to complete the 90-day period.

“The trees needed to be cut. I will take responsibility for that because I was the one who applied for the permit.Those trees are not in the right place. They are inside the roads right of way,” Cojuangco told reporters when asked about the cutting of trees.

He said he waited for three years for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to issue a permit.This means that he started lobbying to the DENR in 2011 and it was only in November 2013 that the permit was issued by the DENR.

In 2011, when the permit for cutting was still underway, this paper carried already the news that more than 1,000 trees have to be cut along the national highway. There were no reactions whatsoever from the residents of the above mentioned municipalities much so from the province’s environmentalist groups who were supposed to make noise to deter the approval of the permit from the DENR.

No one made a noise. Not a single environmentalist group from Pangasinan echoed any sentiment why the trees should not be cut down. As if no one really cared.

Now that Mark Cojuangco has announced his plan to run as governor and claimed responsibility for the cutting of trees, environmentalist groups in the province are coming out in the open questioning the cutting of trees. Why only now? Why don’t they made the biggest noise when the trees were not yet cut down? Too late the hero, we say.

On December 2013, some members of environmentalist and church groups based in Manila passed by in the areas where trees have been felled. They cried foul and petitioned DENR “to stop further cutting, injuring, earthballing and transferring of the remaining trees.” Again, why only now when the remaining trees have already been marked and could no longer survive because figuratively they have been murdered in broad day light at the sight of many residents in the municipalities mentioned.

Cojuangco said the trees had to go since they were not in the right place. The trees had to go because of road expansion and widening. We need to have roads of international standards to promote industrialization and to attract investors and tourists. Cojuangco, being a technocrat first before becoming a politician, has all the welfare of the Pangasinenses in mind. That welfare, though overshadowed by the issue on environment, has to be pursued for the benefit of the people. The environmentalist groups acted late and for being late, the trees that have been cut could no longer be revived or resuscitated to life.

What we need now are the replacements of those trees that have been cut. When will DENR plant trees on the 100 hectares land in San Manuel? We hope, Cojuangco who pursued with earnest on the granting of permit for the cutting of trees, will likewise pursue the same vigor and zest that trees shall be replaced and the land for reforestation shall be planted with trees- not 1,000 or 2,000 but more trees to make the designated area by the DENR forested

Entry filed under: News.

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