DENR backs court order vs cutting Baguio trees

Posted at 04/11/12 3:50 PM

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Wednesday said it is enforcing the 72-hour temporary protection order issued by a local court preventing SM Baguio from cutting and earth-balling of trees in Luneta Hill.

DENR Secretary Ramon Paje said he had instructed DENR-Cordillera Administrative Region Executive Director Clarence Baguilat to implement the order issued on Tuesday by Baguio City Regional Trial Court Branch 5 Judge Cleto R. Villacorta III.

This, after concerned groups lamented that SM Baguio management ignored the court order and continued uprooting trees for its expansion.

"I already issued an order to our regional officials in Baguio City to comply with the order of Judge Villacorta. As we talk, our DENR-CAR must have already served its directive enjoining the management of SM Baguio to strictly comply with the terms and conditions of the TEPO," Paje said, in a statement.

Paje said the DENR’s latest move on the controversial standoff between the SM Baguio management and environmental activists was in accordance with the rules of procedure on environmental cases set by the Supreme Court.

Paje said SM has so far uprooted 40 Alnus trees and 1 Benguet pine tree from Luneta Hill. There were 182 such trees previously inventoried for cutting, earth-balling or transplantation from the site.