No decision yet on trees along Davao drainage, says task force

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/06 October) — The task force assigned to maintain the city’s drainage system said no final decision has been reached on what to do with the trees along the drainage structure on Dacudao Avenue.

Speaking at Monday’s Kapehan sa SM media forum, Task Force Drainage chair Yusop Jimlani clarified no cutting has been done contrary to some reports and complaints posted in social media.

The official was reacting to Facebook posts criticizing the city government for supposedly choosing to cut down trees to solve a drainage problem.

He said the task force was getting flak for its inquiry on what to do with the trees that were reportedly damaging the drainage structure.

Jimlani said a consultative meeting was scheduled this week and that nothing was final yet.

Last week, environment group Interface Development Interventions said it was against the plan to cut the trees.

“The main drain canal can be enhanced without removing these trees,” Chinkie Pelino-Golle of IDIS said in a Facebook post on September 29.

Jimlani said he would ask officials of the City Environment and Natural Resource Office and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources which action to take and, if need be, what kind of trees to plant to keep the area green.

“I’m surprised that there is already news that we are cutting the trees,” Jimlani said. “We are not. Who am I to cut down the trees?”

“I am one of those against cutting the trees,” he said. “The mayor is aware of this because we submit reports from time to time.”

He said he was just asking the city’s environment agency what action to take and that he did not recommend cutting the trees. He added critics of the plan should be careful in sharing information.

Task force personnel said at least 100 trees such as mahogany, molave, mint and gmelina line Dacudao Avenue.

The trees were planted around 20 years ago as donation by a civic organization.

A bicycle group, meanwhile, counted 672 trees in a planned tagging activity along the area.

Jimlani said the City Engineer’s Office had a budget of P16 million for the rehabilitation of Dacudao Avenue’s drainage.

Last Friday, Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte was quoted in local newspapers as saying he was against cutting down the trees at Dacudao.

On Sunday, however, Duterte said there should be a “win-win solution” after he was made aware of the extent of damage to the drainage system.

Jimlani said the City Legal Office said cutting down the trees is legal under Presidential Decree 953, which allows such action in the interest of public safety.

He, however, clarified that the law also provides for other methods such as pruning and trimming.

He also emphasized the final decision was up to Duterte regardless of the task force would decide after the meeting this week. (MindaNews)