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Though existing laws prohibit the cutting of trees in public spaces, exceptions have
been made. One of these exceptions, under section 2.2 of Executive Order No 23 (the
moratorium on logging), is the cutting of trees to recover right of way for roads being
built by the DPWH.

2. A memorandum issued by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr in 2012 served as a blanket

approval for DPWH to cut trees in 8 regions: Regions I, II, IV-A, V, VIII, IX and XI.

3. By law, all roads are supposed to have easements or empty spaces running the length
of the road.Easements are a form of weather-proofing because they ensure nothing will fall
on the road in times of natural calamity. The inaccessible roads in the aftermath of Typhoon
Yolanda underline their importance.

4. Since Ochoa's memorandum is in force, the DENR focuses on ensuring the DPWH complies
with the requirement that, for every tree cut in the name of road-widening, they must plant 100
3-foot-high seedlings.

5. "Based on Presidential Decree No 1152 (Philippine Environment Code), all government

agencies should consider environmental impacts for all their projects. Under the law,
government must prove they are implementing the best project. This requires public consultation
and obtaining position papers from affected groups," Benito said. The fact that there was no
public consultation before budget allocation could be grounds for nullifying the projects, he said.

If there was genuine consultation, suggestions like road designs with trees could have been
considered for budgeting.

6. TEPO [Temporary Enviromental Protection Order] (ex. one filed by They Grey, We Green”
against DPWH and Naga City August or July 2017)

7. The special tree cutting permit (STCP) approved last Sept. 10 says the Department of
Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 7 has been given approval to remove 42 trees, including
eight century-old acacia trees along the project site.

8. Under the supervision of DENR 7 Community Environment and Natural Resources Office
(CENRO) and the Naga City Government, the cut down trees and wood materials should be
turned over to the DENR.

9. But the DPWH 7 must also follow conditions to ensure that the STCP is not revoked,

I) including earth-balling 96 trees and preserving 16 century-old acacia trees that were
identified for rehabilitation.

II) Also, part of the DPWH 7’s conditions is that they should plant about 13, 800
indigenous or native seedlings and maintain them for three years, insuring 80 percent survival
III) The DPWH 7 must also submit a certification from barangay captains that they
don’t object to the cutting of trees.

IV) DPWH 7 must also conduct public consultations.

V) Aside from securing an environmental compliance certificate (ECC), DPWH 7

must assess the trees’ biodiversity, carbon sequestration potential and water storage capacity.

VI) DPWH 7 must also put up signage in the areas to warn the public of the activity.

Lawyer Gloria Estenzo-Ramos of the Global Legal Action on Climate Change (GLACC).

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