Malacañang OKs ‘in principle’ Baguio’s tree cutting moratorium

Frank Cimatu
Malacañang OKs ‘in principle’ Baguio’s tree cutting moratorium
A moratorium on new commercial buildings is also approved, says Mayor Benjamin Magalong, and only a formal communication is being awaited

BAGUIO, Philippines – Malacañang has approved “in principle” Baguio’s proposed one-year moratoria on new commercial building and on cutting of trees, Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong announced Friday, October 4.

Magalong said the one-year moratoria had been okayed by the Office of the President. Only the formal communication is being awaited, he added. 

The proposed executive order providing for the guidelines in the implementation of the moratoria was submitted to the Office of the President through the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Magalong said the city had been given P500 million for the implementing rules and regulation of the order and the review of the city’s comprehensive land use plan and zoning ordinances. 

Upon sitting as mayor, Magalong was requested by civil society groups for the implementation of moratoria on the construction of buildings and the cutting of trees for at least one year to allow the city’s environment to recover, considering the supposed over-development that it had been experiencing through the years. 

There had been a sudden construction boom of high-rise buildings in the past 4 years, the groups said. The city has set up public consultations regarding the matter.  

Magalong said the preservation and even the expansion of what was left of the city’s forest cover is one of the reasons why he pushed for the moratorium together with the DENR and the DILG. Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu last February called for an inventory of the city’s remaining pine trees, as he said that the loss had become apparent. 

The moratoria would include a funding component to enable the city to implement rehabilitative programs, particularly on the upgrading and expansion of its sewerage treatment system. 

As proposed, it would run for one year with an option for an extension. Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board-Cordillera Regional Director Jann Roby Otero also agreed with the moratorium as it would allow the city environment to recover. 

Magalong also said he was informed by the Asian Development Bank that it would give the city a grant for the study of the sewerage system of the city. He said that he was given full support by the ADB for the said study. – 


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