Guico to environmentalist groups: Stop tree cutting in forests
BINALONAN – Mayor Ramon Guico III urged environmentalist groups opposing the cutting of trees along the Manila North Road traversing this town, to focus instead of the massive illegal cutting of trees in the forests and mountains.
Guico said while 1,892 trees are “sacrificed” for the widening of MNR, thousands of trees are being illegally logged in the forests.
“Why not look into those trees being felled in the mountains?” he said.
When told that the environmentalist groups proposed the construction of road around the trees, Guico said that would be difficult because the roadside are already occupied by houses and establishments, and acquiring the properties from the residents would take plenty of years.
The local government of Binalonan actually supported the widening of the MNR which entailed the felling of the 30-50 year old trees on the road’s sides.
“We have plenty of projects which we could not implement because of the pending road widening project like installing street lights, drainage systems, putting tricycle terminals going to the inner villages,” he said.
Guico likewise said the trees posed danger to motorists because the MNR already had wide areas while others still are narrow because of the trees.
“Some may be thinking that the road ahead is still wide and may ram into a tree in the narrow parts of the MNR,” he said.
Guico also said the MNR road would still be useful even if the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) is completed because “not everyone can afford the toll fees,”
“For instance, if you travel from Sison to Urdaneta City, you won’t pass through the TPLEX and pay the toll. You would travel through the MNR,” he said.
Guico likewise mentioned the Greening Binalonan project of the local government which is the planting of trees in different areas of the town, “except along the highway.”
“We have planted thousand of trees, as this project was started during my first term,” Guico, who is on his second term, said.
The DENR issued the extension of a special tree cutting and earth balling permit to the Department of Public Works and Highways last October 30 but the DPWH received it only on December 19.
“We could not start the cutting immediately because we had to put up billboards and other preparatory measures,” DPWH District Engineer Emmanuel Diaz said.
The permit signed by DENR Regional Executive Director Paquino Moreno was for the cutting of 589 trees and balling of 107.
Most of the trees are in Binalonan but there are also trees in Pozorrubio and Sison.
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