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Vista on hot seat for stripping Baguio of trees

Aldwin Quitasol

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AN AREA in Barangay Outlook Drive in Baguio City where 54 trees were felled by the Villar-owned Vista Residences Inc. (Photo: Dave Leprozo Jr.)

BAGUIO CITY—Top honchos of the Villar family’s Vista Residences Inc. will be on the hot seat when members of the Baguio City Council probe today the property firm, the Department of Natural Resources and officials of Purok 3 in Barangay Outlook Drive regarding the cutting of 54 trees.

Vista Residences had justified the felling of trees, claiming it was allowed through a special private land timber permit issued by the DENR in Quezon City in May 2020.

City government will inquire on the property firm’s officials for them to shed light on the issue that in turn will allow them to craft legislative measures.

The developer since 20 June 2020 had chopped down 53 pine trees and one Norfolk tree to pave the way for the Vista Pinehill Baguio condominium project.

According to Baguio City Councilor Arthur Allad-iw, there is a strong clamor from various sectors for the city government to halt the cutting of trees, which used to be the key attraction of the Baguio City that has come to be regarded as the Summer Capital of the country.

Public protests tree cutting

The local executive said the city government will inquire on the property firm’s officials for them to shed light on the issue that in turn will allow them to craft legislative measures.

An online petition against Vista Residences and addressed to Mayor Benjamin Magalong sought to stop the tree-cutting at Outlook Drive.

The online petition has generated more than 15,629 signatures as of the morning of 5 July 2020. Magalong expressed sadness over the tree-cutting operation while stressing the urgency for the issuance of a moratorium on these activities and the construction of high-rise buildings in the city.

Magalong backs moratorium

In October last year, Magalong pushed for a moratorium which he claimed was a plan that the Palace had approved in principle.

Meanwhile, the city council through a resolution this month requested President Rodrigo Duterte to issue an executive order mandating a moratorium on tree-cutting activities and on the construction of new commercial buildings in the City of Baguio.

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