NOTE: THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE BOHOL CHRONICLE’S SUNDAY PRINT EDITION.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)-3 rd District of Bohol has defied the Loboc Sangguniang Bayan (SB) resolution opposing the massive cutting of nipa palms and trees in the implementation of its projects within the municipality.
During an interview with DYRD’s Inyong Alagad program last Tuesday, Kagawad Erwin F. Baquial revealed that as early as May 31, 2023, the Loboc SB unanimously issued a Resolution No. 313-2023 “OPPOSING THE MASSIVE CUTTING OF NIPA PALMS AND TREES AFFECTED BY THE IMPLEMENTATION OF VARIOUS PROJECTS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS AND HIGHWAYS (DPWH) WITHIN THE MUNICIPALITY OF LOBOC.”
According to Kagawad Baquial, the resolution was issued after the DPWH-3 rd District and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) asked for an endorsement from the Loboc SB for the cutting of 599 nipa palms and other trees affected by the implementation of various projects of the DPWH within Loboc, including the riprap of the Loboc river banks.
The SB resolution was issued as the cutting of the 599 nipa palms and trees was considered “massive”, and a review of the adverse effect of the cutting of these nipa palms and trees was found “highly needed considering the volume of palms and trees to be cut.”
Kagawad Baquial further revealed this SB resolution was defied by the DPWH as it proceeded with the cutting
of about 350 nipa palms and trees. Accordingly, even while it had earlier asked for the SB’s endorsement, DPWH-
3 rd District has proceeded with the cutting of the nipa palms and trees until the present time despite the SB’s
opposition, allegedly because these are within the easement areas and are allegedly under the jurisdiction of
According to Tagbilaran Baywatch, however, DPWH’s claim runs counter to Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code and prevailing jurisprudence.
In a letter to the Office of the Mayor of Loboc dated January 22, 2024, Tagbilaran Baywatch pointed out that in the case of Alfredo Tano, et. al. vs. Salvador Socrates, et.al. (G.R. No. 110249, August 21, 1997), the Supreme Court ruled, that “The Local Government Code provided under Section 16 that every local government unit shall exercise the powers expressly granted or implied therefrom for its efficient and effective governance, and those
which are essential to the promotion of general welfare. Included in the general welfare is to enhance the right of the
people to a balanced ecology. This is considered by the Court as an explicit mandate that the local government units
are allowed to exercise its powers for the general welfare. One of the devolved powers enumerated in the LGC is the
enforcement of fishery laws in municipal waters which is necessary.”
Tagbilaran Baywatch likewise cited the case of Province of Rizal v. Executive Secretary (G.R. No. 129546, 13
December 2005), where the Supreme Court ruled, that “Under the Local Government Code, therefore, two requisites
must be met before a national project that affects the environmental and ecological balance of local communities can
be implemented: prior consultation with the affected local communities, and prior approval of the project by the
appropriate Sanggunian. Absent either of these mandatory requirements, the projects implementation is illegal.”
The Tagbilaran Baywatch, therefore, asked what action the Loboc LGU had done with the DPWH’s defiance of
SB Resolution No. 313-2023 denying the DPWH and DENR’s endorsement for the cutting of 599 nipa palms and
trees in Loboc.
It may likewise be noted that the Mayor and DPWH-3 rd District claimed, in separate press releases, to have
conducted a consultation with the residents and a feasibility study for the riprap project.
Thus, the environmental group asked the Loboc Mayor for copies of the minutes of the alleged consultation with the community (LGU, residents, Lobocanons, and stakeholders) with the specific names and signatures of the
attendees conducted before the start of the riprap project of the Loboc river banks. The group also asked for a copy
of the claimed feasibility study under Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) System under PRESIDENTIAL
DECREE No. 1586, June 11, 1978 “ESTABLISHING AN ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT
SYSTEM, INCLUDING OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT RELATED MEASURES AND FOR
The group further inquired into the supposed prior approval of the riprap project by the Loboc SB, noting that the
case of Province of Rizal v. Executive Secretary set out the twin requisites of prior consultation with the affected
local communities and prior approval of the project by the SB before a national project that affects the
environmental and ecological balance of local communities can be implemented.
It was, however, observed that DPWH-3 rd District could have had no prior approval by the SB of the riprap
project and the cutting of trees, as it instead defied the SB Resolution No. 313-2023 denying the DPWH and
DENR’s endorsement for the cutting of 599 nipa palms and trees in Loboc.
Tagbilaran Baywatch likewise refuted the claim of the Loboc LGU in its previous press statement supporting the
“position of the DPWH and President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. that based on experts opinion, Dredging can never
The group cited the expert opinion of Engr. Liberato Lupot III, former Dean of the College of Engineering and
Technology at the University of Bohol, who shared during an interview with DYRD’s Inyong Alagad Program on
January 23 that dredging can, in fact, solve the problem of flooding.
Tagbilaran Baywatch thus further asked to be furnished the following: a) the names of the alleged “experts”; b)
copies of their studies claiming that “dredging can never solve flooding” contrary to the expert opinion of Engr.
Lupot; c) action that Loboc has taken or will take to solve the flooding problem (not just the problem of soil erosion
of the river banks.
The group requested that the copies of all the documents requested in the letter to the Loboc Mayor be furnished
within three (3) days from receipt hereof, in accordance with Section 9 (b) of Republic Act No. 11032 or “AN ACT
PROMOTING EASE OF DOING BUSINESS AND EFFICIENT DELIVERY OF GOVERNMENT SERVICES,
AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9485, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE ANTI-RED
TAPE ACT OF 2007, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.”
A similar letter will likewise be sent to the DPWH-3 rd District.