Councilor proposes measure to ensure continued survival of earth-balled trees

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CEBU City Councilor Eugenio Gabuya Jr. has proposed a measure to ensure that all earth-balled trees will be transplanted to another location.

The “Relocation Site for Earth-balled Trees Ordinance in Cebu City” was filed before the City Council during its regular session on Wednesday, March 24, 2021.

The measure was referred to the committee on laws for further review.

The draft ordinance mandates the Office of the Mayor through the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro) to check and verify the relocation site of affected trees.

The Cenro is the issuing authority of the endorsement on the removal and relocation of the trees.

The draft ordinance stipulates a fine of P5,000 or imprisonment of not more than one year against the person who makes any false statement on the availability of a relocation site.

The trees are more likely to be affected by government’s infrastructure projects.

Several river improvement and road widening projects have been endorsed to the council, which approves or disapproves earth-balling or cutting of trees affected by these activities.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources mandates the Department of Public Works and Highways to secure an endorsement from the local government unit before it implements a project.

Gabuya said the proposed measure aims to ensure that affected trees will survive.

It will also foster “re-greening” of the environment and contribute to climate change mitigation, he said.

“It is the policy of the state to protect and advance the right of the people to a healthy and balance environment and to establish a holistic ecosystem approach to restore the earth natural system,” he said.

If passed, the measure will take effect 15 days after completion of its publication in a newspaper of general circulation. (JJL)