Moldex tree cutting permit did not come from city government

BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio Domogan Wednesday said that the permit to cut close to 49 trees at a private property along Marcos Highway did not come from the city government.

The mayor sought to correct some reactions over the social media castigating him for purportedly giving the nod for the felling of the said trees at the property being developed by Moldex Corp.

The Forestry Division of the City Environment and Parks Management Office (CEPMO) whose foresters are members of the city's joint inspection committee also affirmed that the permit came from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and not from the city.

Domogan also decried his being denied due process on the alleged case filed against him for usurpation of authority over the cutting of ten trees in a private lot along Legarda Road last February.

"I would have been ready to answer the charges but what will I answer, I haven't received a copy of the complaint and then allegedly the DENR central office held a presscon on the matter. That is unfair as I'm being subjected to trial by publicity," the mayor lamented.

The mayor said the ten trees subject of the alleged complaint were issued emergency tree cutting permit as they were certified to have been causing imminent danger as per investigation and inspection report from the members of the joint inspection committee composed of foresters from the CEPMO, City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) and a representative from the City Mayor's Office and by the punong barangay of the Burnham-Legarda Road who issued a certification interposing no objection to the cutting of said trees.

Forest Technician Cristito Sandoval of the CEPMO Forestry Division who joined the inspection attested that two of the trees were dead and eight were leaning perilously towards a neighboring private property and the road where electric posts are perched as evidenced by photographs taken of the site.

Sandoval also confirmed that CENRO personnel were present at the site before the cutting was done and they cleared the operation.

"My duty to sign the permit was ministerial in that when the report says that there was emergency as there was imminent danger being posed by the trees, they followed the process and supplied all the requirements then I had to sign it because if I didn't sign it and something untoward happens like the Camp John Hay incident where a student was killed by a fallen tree, then I'd also be liable," the mayor said. – Aileen P. Refuerzo

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