TACLOBAN CITY -- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has called on the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to stop cutting trees in the ongoing construction of a diversion road in Ormoc City.
In a statement issued Thursday, DENR Regional Executive Director Crizaldy Barcelo said 21 trees have been cut within the site of two packages of the road project so far, covering an aggregate volume of 2.16 cubic meters.
Based on initial inspection, construction works will uproot 16 mangrove trees under package A and 196 trees under package B. The cutting of trees was made even before the issuance of Environmental Compliance Certificate, according to DENR.
“The DPWH has been advised by the DENR to refrain from further executing the project and subsequent modification of the existing environment in the project site without an approved ECC and corresponding tree-cutting permit to be issued by the DENR, as well as appropriate clearances from authorities prior to the implementation especially that the project site is within an environmentally critical area,” Barcelo said.
The multi-million peso DPWH project of the Leyte 4th engineering district office will link the villages reached by boat, and will cut down the 11-kilometer travel distance by land to San Juan, Naungan, and Lao villages in Ormoc to only four kilometers. The project will be implemented in four packages.
In a statement, the DPWH Leyte 4th engineering district office said they will conduct an investigation on the alleged tree-cutting activities by the contractor, considering that package B is yet to be completed.
“Based on the survey conducted, mangrove area is located at the end portion of the package B. At present, the project is still half way towards the end portion and only traverses on a swamp area with nipa plants,” said DPWH Leyte 4th district engineer Lino Francisco Gonzalez.
Gonzalez said they are fully aware of the provision in cutting of trees and committed to adhere to and comply with existing environmental laws and regulations.