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Protection of heritage trees urged

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Davao City First District Representative Paolo “Pulong” Duterte recently filed House Bill No. 7804 — or the Heritage Tree Act of 2020 — that would provide sustainable management and protection of heritage trees, including the country’s forests.

“Although there are individuals and organizations which are committed to preserving the country’s vast biodiversity, particularly its Heritage trees, it is only in legislation that we will truly be able to protect such,” said Duterte.

The lawmaker cited the case of the 300-year-old Philippine Rosewood locally known as the “Toog” tree in San Francisco, Agusan del Sur which is on the verge of being cut down and Duterte stressed that this must not be taken lightly, more so permitted.

He noted that a Third-Party Scientific Assessment by the Society of Filipino Foresters Inc. (SFFI) as permitted by the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DENR) and the local government unit (LGU) of San Francisco found the tree is healthy and that the Heritage tree should instead be preserved and responsibly maintained.

“The lack of protection of Heritage trees puts at risk the country’s biodiversity, ecological preservation, and cultural heritage, among other things. It is in these most important times when resounding appeals for environmental or ecological protection and preservation and cultural heritage policies are slowly and finally being put forward that we must see to it that this legislation transpires,” Duterte said.

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