Now the trees must go » Manila Bulletin News

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By Elinando B. Cinco

Elinando B. Cinco

We who have been living within the periphery of Batasan Hills for more than three decades now are starting to feel the void, with a heavy heart.

In a clandestine but systematic manner, hundreds of trees, in their full greenery blossoming in the middle island of the 16-lane Commonwealth Ave. are being uprooted. Many of them averaged 20 feet in height and a middle foliage circumference of the same measurement.

They were planted there in the early 1980s.

In what many grieving passersby and motorists call “environmental butchery,” it started a week ago.

The plants, with their thick green leaves waving in majestic pride, are being “sacrificed” in favor of MRT-7. The railway tracks will be installed right in the middle of the island.

The public was never informed in advance of the widespread tree-cutting. Were they cut or rooted out? Or, balled to be transferred elsewhere?

Many of us, residents near the site, never saw the plants being uprooted. Even the grounds remained flat and clean. Never was there a sight of the smoking gun.

The marauders must have done their dirty work in the middle of night, to avoid public condemnation.

Maybe the perpetrators were anticipating a backlash from environmentalists, with protest rallies and all!

Residents in and around Batasan Hills are beginning to lose their environmental treasure. On top of being a health invigorator.

These trees supply oxygen to the already choked 10-kilometer Commonwealth Avenue. They also serve as a pleasant natural spectacle to the more than 300,000 motorists who pass by there every day.

The trees that lined up the thoroughfare are a welcome sight to behold, a refreshing vista from the many decaying districts of Quezon City.

In my casual talks with some officers of homeowners associations of nearby subdivisions, it is the consensus that the clandestine style of the perpetrators’ butchery is the main irritant.

Public information by way of serving notices – on-site placards and circulars – to surrounding villages, as well as radio-TV appearances by responsible officials both of local government and of the builder-contractor would have appeased the irate residents.

Planted close to one another, the thick foliage of those arbor plants never fails to attract passersby and motorists. A gentle reminder to them that in this uncaring metropolis, there are still some residents who value trees that make up their miniature Eden.

By the way, as a bit of information relevant to this column piece, the Rotary Club of San Francisco del Monte, Quezon City, in 1981, launched an ambitious green environment campaign as a Rotary District 378 project. The objective: “To plant hundreds of tree saplings along some portions of EDSA and Commonwealth Avenue.”

The laudable idea was conceptualized by Rotary Gov. Pete Morales, with George Howard as committee chairman. The program theme – “Pu’no ng Buhay, Puno’ ng Buhay.”

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