MAASIN CITY—The Department of Pubic Works and Highways (DPWH) in Southern Leyte will plant over 78,000 trees in various watershed areas of the province to replace the over 1,000 trees cut due to road-widening projects.
The DPWH has set aside P3 million that will be turned over to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), which deputized community-based organizations to plant the seedlings, nurture them and replant in the watershed areas.
DPWH District Engineer Margarita Junia said over 200 kilometers of national road have already been widened in the province in the past years while construction in some sections is still ongoing.
A memorandum of agreement has been entered into between the regional offices of the DPWH and the DENR regarding mechanisms on the replacement of felled trees.
Under the agreement, each natural-grown tree that will be cut will be replaced with 100 new trees, while the planted trees in various greening programs will be replaced with 50 new ones.
Junia said that last year, 1,454 planted trees and 34 natural-grown trees were cut to pave way for road- widening projects. This resulted to a replacement of over 78,000 trees that will be planted in different watershed areas in the province.
“Road widening is an important priority of the government,” she said. “We have a program to widen the national road, especially our primary road. In the course of project implementation, it will hit our planted trees, especially those planted by the national greening program.”
She added the DENR has identified 32 hectares, an area set aside for replacement of trees cut. A community-based people’s organization is deputized to nurture the seedlings for three years until they are ready for transplanting.
The community will be paid for the trees they nurture, and a minimum 85-percent survival rate is set for the stewardship to be considered successful. A team from DPWH was formed to do the monitoring of replanted trees.