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Court dissolves TRO, allows to axe 259 trees for road widening in Pampanga

 By Deighton Acuin, Archie Villaflores, and Joshua Diacamus

PHOTO: Philippine Daily Inquirer

A court on Wednesday dissolved the temporary environmental protection order that will save at least 259 trees from being cut by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to give way for the road widening project to Clark Freeport.

Central Luzon Regional Trial Court Branch 59 Judge Maria Angelica Paras-Quimbao also denied the motion of Save the Trees Coalition for permanent injunction in special civil action.

Quiambao’s 88-page decision, dated Jan. 4, was received by STC on Feb. 2, according to one of the plaintiffs, Dina Zulueta. STC is appealing the case, she said in a phone interview.

While the group blocked the cutting of 486 trees in Barangay Sto, Domingo in Angeles City and Barangay Mabiga in Mabalacat City by year 2012, they lost the decision this time due to issues raised by DPWH.

Quimbao said the projects’ environmental clearance and two tree cutting permits are already valid.

The plaintiffs failed to prove there was no hearing and the DPWH violated the conditions of tree cutting permit.

“The plaintiffs failed to rebut the defendants’ position that the plaintiffs are not going to suffer grave and irreparable injury if the court will allow the cutting of the 259 trees,” the decision read.

“Their (plaintiffs) questions as to the validity and effectiveness of the different laws and regulations being followed by the DPWH and DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) in implementing the road-widening project are beyond the scope of a social civil action with a prayer for Tepo,” it said.


RELATED ARTICLE: Philippine Daily Inquirer