visayas.politics.com.ph

Walang pambili: DPWH not replacing fallen trees for road projects

0 503

This may put the Department of Public Works and Highways in trouble with environmentalists in Pototan town in Iloilo province.

While the DPWH is required to replace the 213,000 trees toppled for the road-widening project, it planted only 600 or about 2.8 percent.

DPWH second district assistant engineer Edna Mae Cañete said the agency had no budget to implement the replacement of the affected trees (https://thedailyguardian.net/banner-news/dpwh-lacks-funds-for-tree-replanting/).

“We admit that we have deficiency in the implementation due to budget constraint. But we will replace those trees.” she said.

Cañete said that while they are not skirting their responsibilities, she said they are still waiting for directives from the DPWH Central Office for the budget.

On Nov. 6, 2016, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources issued a permit to the DPWH to cut down up to 5,183 trees for the road-widening project covering 13 barangays of Pototan.

Under the permit, DPWH is required to replace each tree to be cut with at least 100 seedlings of indigenous species.

The DPWH initially cut down 2,013 trees, and is thus required to replant 213,000 seedlings.

But a report from the DENR showed the DPWH was only able to plant 600 trees. DPWH sought an extension of the tree-cutting permit last Jan. 29.

For his part, DENR-6 regional director Jim Sampulna said he will not grant the request unless DPWH signs an affidavit of undertaking to ensure that the tree replanting will be conducted.

“It is our mandate to assert the protection of the environment. Thus, we need the affidavit of undertaking. I will volunteer to make the draft,” Sampulna said.