Lawyer: Review BRT impact study

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Saturday, August 30, 2014

AN environmentalist questioned the need to remove trees for the Bus Rapid Transit
(BRT) project.

Lawyer Gloria Estenzo-Ramos told Sun.Star Cebu yesterday that there is no need to cut down trees because the BRT project can use the existing road network.

"Why do we have to cut down trees when we can always dedicate a lane for the BRT?" Ramos asked.


Her stance was in reaction to the environmental impact assessment study (EIAS) conducted by the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), which states that around 2,000 trees could be affected by the BRT project.

Ramos said she has yet to see the study.

But she said that public participation should be solicited before the project can be implemented.

A thorough review of the EIAS must be done to determine if there was public consent for the project.

Ramos also urged the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7 to further scrutinize the BRT project if it involves cutting of trees.

Ramos criticized the DENR for allegedly supporting the removal of trees, particularly the acacia trees along the highway from the City of Naga, San Fernando and Carcar City.

"I am surprised that DENR is supporting the cutting of trees. Whatever happened to the National Greening Program? Do they plant new seedlings then cut the old trees?" Ramos posed more questions.

She urged DENR 7 to heed the order of DENR Secretary Ramon Paje to avoid the removal of trees.

In an earlier interview, DENR 7 spokesperson Eddie Llamedo said that before the implementation of the BRT project, the department plans to conduct massive consultations with different stakeholders.

Llamedo also urged the Department of Public Works and Highways to incorporate trees within the BRT project rather than removing them.

While the DOTC study suggested earthballing the trees, Llamedo said that this is a costly operation and will not assure the trees' survival.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 30, 2014.

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