BAGUIO CITY LAUDS DENR ACTION TO SAVE ‘DYING’ PINE TREES
A portion of the pine forest inside Camp John Hay in Baguio City. (PNA file photo)
BAGUIO CITY -- The city government has welcomed the order of Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu to conduct an eco-system research to extend the life of pine trees, which are abundant in the city.
"We welcome and appreciate the concern raised by DENR Secretary Cimatu on the state of the pine trees in a private property and public places in the different parts of Baguio City and the overall situation of its environment," Mayor Mauricio Domogan said in a statement posted on the city's social media account Tuesday evening.
During the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) alumni homecoming on February 16, Cimatu ordered the DENR staff to conduct an eco-system research and gave them one month to complete the inventory of pine trees.
Domogan, in an interview, said the city government through the City Environment and Parks Management Office (CEPMO), in coordination with the DENR, have been looking at the pine tree infestation, which had been causing deaths to some of the trees.
"In fact, dozens of infested trees in our parks and other public places were subjected to the stringent surgical process while the dead trees were removed and replaced with young ones through the continuing reforestation program in coordination with DENR," he said.
Domogan also spoke of the city government’s efforts to protect the pine tree park near the Baguio Convention Center, which was the subject of letters of elementary pupils who wrote to President Rodrigo R. Duterte.
The mayor said they have forwarded over 67 letters from students of Baguio Pines Family Learning Center (BPFLC) to Duterte to help keep and maintain the pine tree park and prevent it from being sold.
He said the city government proposed to purchase the lot from the Government Service Insurance Corporation (GSIS), especially after information that a private company has expressed interest to buy the area and convert it to a commercial center, but to no avail.
The GSIS issued a statement saying it would not sell the property.
Baguio City, also known as the "City of Pines", is a popular tourist destination for its pine trees, which thrive in its cool weather.
In interviews with the media on the sidelines of the alumni homecoming, Cimatu said upon his arrival in the city on February 15, he instructed the DENR in the Cordillera to immediately start the counting of trees so the agency could take steps to preserve and protect them.
“This is what makes the city of Baguio unique among other tourist destinations, aside from its cold weather,” Cimatu said.
In the past, people who visit the city are greeted with the scent of pine while traversing the roads leading to Baguio, which has been missing these days, Cimatu said.