Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation (PSPC) has admitted that it ordered the cutting of the four over century-old acacia trees in Tagbilaran City to pave the way for the construction of a gasoline station.
During a hearing conducted by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) on Thursday, officials of PSPC led by the firm’s Visayas manager Joseph Manalang admitted that they were responsible for the cutting of the trees.
Kristine Sy, a representative of PSPC, said they did not need a cutting permit as they were able to secure a Private Tree Plantation Registration (PTPR) which was the only requirement set by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) considering that the trees were planted on private land.
“The PTPR was the requirement set by the department. As discussed with the DENR, there was no need for a cutting [permit],” said Sy.
It was also confirmed by the DENR-City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) that there was no need for a cutting permit considering that acacia trees have been delisted as among premium hardwood.
The CENRO also noted that it did not raise any objection to the cutting of the trees when they issued the PTPR to the PSPC.
According to Sy, they needed to cut the trees as these were blocking the proposed entrance to the property.
“Based on our land development plan, the trees needed to be cut as these were in line with the ingress and egress of the property,” said Sy.
A building is also planned to be erected within the property which will house commercial establishments.
During the hearing, it was also confirmed that PSCP is leasing the property from Forest View Realty And Development, Inc.
For his part, Vice Governor Victor Balite said the SP is expected to again convene as a committee of the whole to discuss information gathered during the hearing.
He hopes that the legislative body will be able to come up with measures to prevent the same incident from happening.
“Sayang pero dili na man gyud to mabuhi pag balik so mao na ang ato nalang gyud ani is to make remedies na dili na mahitabo sunod,” said Balite. (AD)