President’s approval awaited for tree-cutting in Chocolate Hills

The administration of the Chocolate Hills Complex (CHC) in Carmen is now awaiting the approval from the Office of the President (OP) to allow local authorities to cut down trees that have covered the world-renowned hills’ natural shape.

According to CHC manager Nathaniel Binlod, the Sangguniang Panlungsod passed a resolution seeking for the approval from the OP to start cutting down over 300 trees that have sprouted on the hills and covered their natural conical form.

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Around 50 percent of the 1,776 hills of the Chocolate Hills are now either partially or totally covered by trees and tall weeds, said Binlod.

The continued growth of foliage across the hills has significantly changed the overall view of the Chocolate Hills in the past decades.

Several tourists who visited the Chocolate Hills 20 years ago, noticed the alteration of the hills’ appearance, Binlod said.

Meanwhile, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources is now ready to supervise the tree-cutting.

Once the OP issues and approval, local authorities can start cutting down trees on the hills in Carmen and in neighboring towns including Batuan and Sagbayan.

The thick vegetation that has redefined the hills’ shape has long been a problem for the CHC but local authorities were unable to address it as the trees are located within a protected area and due to more stringent environmental laws. (ad)



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