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Mayor issues public apology for cutting of trees

Mayor Sara Duterte yesterday issued a public apology on the cutting of trees at Clifford Park along Roxas Avenue for its renovation.

“My mistake was not to solicit an explanation on the park design as I quietly assumed that no trees will be taken down,” Duterte said. “I sincerely apologize for the oversight.”

On Tuesday, Councilor Pilar Braga pushed for an investigation why decades-old trees at Clifford Park were cut without any advisory.

The mayor admitted that the City Government of Davao intended to rehabilitate Clifford Park to accommodate more people and enhance its tourism and recreational values.

“I approved the proposed design and assumed that the project will build around the trees,” Duterte said. “However, it has come to my attention that several trees were felled down as park rehabilitation progressed.”

With this, the mayor vowed to carry out “more programs to establish rural and urban green spaces, promote ecological balance, sustainable utilization and management of resources, and to continue raising public awareness of the importance of environmental protection.”

During the council session on Tuesday, Braga expressed her disappointment that the trees were chopped down for development projects.

“Instead of cutting, we can transplant those trees to another area where it can continue to grow and live. There are many ways to deal with the trees. In some place in Singapore, trees are planted inside their airport aesthetically, not just for beauty, but for the purpose of cleansing the air in the environment… we in turn choose to cut down our trees,” she said.

In her Facebook post, Braga said “no reason – good or bad – can justify the murder of these trees.”

Last month, the councilor posted on her Facebhook page the earth-balling technique in transferring trees.

She recommended that the Department of Public Works and Highway (DPWH) and the City Engineer’s Office (CEO) should apply such practice “to avoid cutting down of trees that get in the way of engineering development.”

According to Braga, the parks have been nominated by the annual Lunhaw Awards as “an effective example of what intensively used small pocket parks in the city can be like,” as an answer to green initiatives.

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