Baguio City Council, in its regular session last October 10, approved the P5-M Urban Tree Maintenance and Management Project proposed by the City Environment and Parks Management Office (CEPMO).
The P5 million shall be sourced out from a trust fund of the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CDRRMO). The project shall be implemented by a third party service provider to be bid out in accordance with the Government Procurement Reform Act (RA No. 9184).

Tree servicing shall be performed for 156 weather working days excluding Sundays and nonworking holidays. According to the project proposal, numerous damaged properties like residential houses and vehicles and even loss of lives due to fallen trees and branches during the rainy season have been reported over the years. To avoid these untoward incidents, adaptation measures, through this project, shall be put into place.

The project proposal indicated that one adaptation procedure is the trimming of branches in city parks and road right- of-ways to avert untoward incidents these trees may bring during typhoons. Another consideration, according to the project proposal, is the height and canopy spread of every tree upon maturity which must interfere with buildings, overhead utility lines, pavements, and street intersections.
The project, according to Engr. Louie Glenn Lardizabal of the CDRRMO, is in line with Disaster Prevention and Mitigation which is one of the thematic areas in the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Plan.

“The security of Baguio constituents and tourists is very significant in the city’s operation and sustenance. A safe city means free from all physical threats where the environment is always in a state of most conserved and will not generate an atmosphere that will encourage incidents that threaten lives and properties,” the project proposal stated. The comprehensive urban tree maintenance and management shall include the pruning of 1,500 trees, removal of 80 tree stumps, surgery of 100 cubic feet of sick live trees, height and crown reduction of identified trees, bucking and piling of pruned branches, and hauling and disposal of wood debris.

A recent tree inventory has revealed that there are around 2.5 million urban trees thriving in the city’s forests and reservations, watersheds, parks, road-right-of-ways, government lots, and private properties.
“With this huge number oftrees, CEPMO cannot maintain and manage all these trees alone. There is a need to supplement through outsourcing of services or hiring additional tree cutters,” the project proposal noted. During the discussion with the city council, CEPMO Head Atty. Rhenan Diwas disclosed that the city government only has two authorized tree cutters responding to the tree-cutting requests in all 128 barangays.

He noted that, once the urban tree maintenance and management program gets regularized, the CEPMO will be able to optimize its services in the cutting of trees in times of disasters and emergencies. Diwas said the project shall be implemented next year before the onset of the rainy season. The project is expected to
mitigate the danger of falling branches and broken limbs within the road right-of-way and various parks; preserve the health of the trees, make them resilient, and enhance their aesthetics; and revitalize the
environment and mitigate climate change. Recognizing the importance of this urban tree maintenance and management project, the city council urged CEPMO to find ways to source out regular funding to make it an annual program of the city government.

Jordan G. Habbiling w/ reports from Floro Bastian

Amianan Balita Ngayon