Open Letter to the Honorable Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama

CENTER ISLAND AT POPE JOHN PAUL II AVE. FOR DEMOLITION/JULY 7, 2015: Cebu City mayor Michael Rama will meet DENR Secretary Paje to issue a permit for the removal of or cut the trees and demolish the center island at Pope John Paul II Ave. in time for the APEC Summit.(CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

CENTER ISLAND AT POPE JOHN PAUL II AVE. FOR DEMOLITION/JULY 7, 2015: Cebu City mayor Michael Rama will meet DENR Secretary Paje to issue a permit for the removal of or cut the trees and demolish the center island at Pope John Paul II Ave. in time for the APEC Summit.(CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

Dear Mayor Rama,

Not long ago, Cebuanos were overjoyed when a road beside the Mabolo Parish was renamed into the Pope John Paul II Avenue. Fronting the Seminario de San Carlos and Carmelite Monastery, it truly deserves being labelled after a well-loved Saint who once visited our city which is also known as Asia’s Cradle of Christianity.

The renaming becomes even more significant because this road will host the convention center that serves as the main venue of the 2016 International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) which will hopefully be graced by Pope Francis, the successor of John Paul II.

The avenue itself speaks of humble dignity. Although not very wide, it is quite far from being heavily populated or polluted compared to others in the city. A vital link to various points of interest, this avenue’s charm comes mainly from a center island that hosts graceful fire trees.

Since these trees are among a few that remain in our streets (similar ones mysteriously disappeared when the Serging Osmena Boulevard was widened), I was therefore dismayed when you sought permission from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to cut them so that the road could be widened for the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Summit (APEC).

Mr. Mayor, please do not cut these trees. Doing so would not only be sacrilegious to Saint John Paul II; it would be bad for a city that’s trying to show itself as liveable and earth-friendly. Besides, no amount of tree-cutting will ever compensate for good traffic planning and enforcement. Otherwise, we might as well cut all the trees in our city and trust that our traffic situation will improve right away.

I do believe that our APEC visitors will appreciate tree-lined streets better than wide highways devoid of trees. In their respective countries, these visitors surely have environment-friendly roads that feature trees. I even doubt that they will be happy knowing that their visit here will cause the cutting of our trees. I’m sure there are other ways to improve traffic management for APEC, the IEC and other events that Asia’s Cradle of Christianity will be hosting.

I leave this matter to those who are officially mandated to do it, but let’s not include tree-cutting as the shortcut solution to this concern, as if it would suffice in solving congestion now and in the distant future.

To better emphasize my point, may I thus remind you of a timely and relevant quote from Saint John Paul II: “The earth will not continue to offer its harvest, except with faithful stewardship. We cannot say we love the land and then take steps to destroy it for use by future generations.”

Mr. Mayor, I trust that you will heed the words of the beloved Saint who once passed through this historic avenue that now bears his name.

Very truly yours,

Ka Bino Guerrero

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Categories: Environment, Tourism, transport | Tags: , , , , , | 39 Comments

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39 thoughts on “Open Letter to the Honorable Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama

  1. I agree that our urban areas need more trees (and parks).

  2. Solisitoy Tralala

    trim lang seguro mayor, or i-manage ang growth sa vegetation, mau kau mo ana management sa tawo, labi na nang kahoy or tanom ra

    kudos @kabino

  3. Andre Chu

    I agree, but i wish you can print this letter and have it received in the Mayor’s office and copy furnished to the DENR office ( near pier 3 if I’m not mistaken) otherwise, it will just be another internet trending article.

    • Alice

      Please do so. It is a very sad irony of it all. DENR is supposed to be the protector of our environment.

  4. This is an abnormal line of thought.

  5. Thumbs up Sir. 🙂

  6. Luis Calalang, Jr.

    Trees are living things. We should respect their lives to the fullest.

  7. I really hope this reaches the city government’s office.

  8. ianne

    I just hope mayor Rama would consider the thoughts of the people. This is well said. 🙂

  9. Yanna

    You have a point about the importance of the trees, and how we should preserve them. But I suggest you to read about the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit System Project that has already been approved, with it’s route, what they needed to do is to demolish the center islands. I think that is the main reason and not just road widening for the APEC summit.

    • kabino

      Yanna, Jonh Paul II Avenue is not part of BRT route, i knew BRT, i was there during the public consultation stage…

  10. naa may equipment na pwede abangan to transfer the trees (TRANSPLANTER) even the deep rooted trees such as mahogany na dili kinahanglan putlon or patyon…kung gusto lang nila daghang pamaagi, kung dili nila gusto daghan silag rason ug hinungdan…

    • kabino

      Manage the flow of traffic, reroute jeepneys, make it a holiday… these can minimize traffic congestion.. let the trees continue filters pollution

  11. thums up sir ka bino

  12. mar pacaldo

    Tama Dont Destroy the Beauty of De la Montaña its one nice Road in the City. APEC EVENTS WILL HAPEN JUST FEW DAYS ONLY. were using qnd enjoying This Since Were Young Til Now,

  13. Pingback: Trader killed in Colon ambush; Rama: how do we solve traffic?

  14. annie

    basin not so sturdy na ang mga trees didto. if uwan2x na ma humok ang gagunit sa roots then if maigo kusog na hangin kuyaw matumba unya naa madat-ugan.

  15. romeo moreno jr

    Trees are life! trees filter the pollution created by vehicles and produce oxygen for human kind. Trees should be saved not just for our sake but for future generation as well. Great move ka bino. I am with your side.

  16. Felipe Luiz

    I hope the trees are removed from that area to widen the street. There is so much traffic in that particular area every day and night. That causes a lot of pollution. It makes more sense to have more trees in another area.

  17. You dont want to have the trees cut yet, complain because of the traffic. You either choose progress or suffer in mediocrity. The trees are only a small sacrifice for the betterment of the City. Its a tough choice. Offer an alternative perhaps and you too would realize that its not an easy choice.

    • kabino

      Nestor, yes the ones that give us oxygen, is just small sacrifice.. please stop taking in oxygen and choose your progress

  18. I agree, Mr. Mayor Please look at it for the second time and think.

  19. Mr. Brightside

    Why not transfer the tree somewhere else? Widening will improve traffic, it’s not just physics it’s also common sense. Transferring of trees has been done before.

  20. Rara

    You are better than cutting down trees and fixing pavements. Bo offense but i could kot help but compare you to the latter who has litterally cleared the “pier” and “carbon” market, also not to mention SRP and North Recle. Pls do better. Leave the trees out of it.

  21. Presco Hayahay

    It’s part of urban development, Why not focus your attention to the illegal logging happening across the country. There more than thousands of tree cut by illegal loggers.

    • kabino

      Presco, may urban development kapang nalalaman.. google mo nga.. Trees and urban development are compatible

  22. Presco Hayahay

    Would you like to drive your car where all of the sudden you need to stop because you are about to bump a tree in the middle of the lane?

    • kabino

      Presco.. your slip is showing.. you are not supposed to drive in the middle of the lane.. there is a center island.. think muna bago comment.

      • Presco Hayahay

        Yeah you’re right but this is no longer about your letter, i’m talking about the trees in roadside if you’re going south… where i could still remember the “so called advocates” made some fun run and campaigning against cutting those Narra Trees. I wondering why they gave too much attention to those where there are thousand of trees cut by loggers everyday in the Philippine forests. If only there were TV coverage in the mountains…. you know what i mean.

  23. annie

    hi Presco, I completely agree. mu overeact dayon ang uban.
    no offense kay Sir Bino, but sa picture, ang mga kahoy na naa sa center island mura na man na nagtakilid oi.
    basin maka remember pa mo ani: Old acacia tree falls, kills PUJ driver katong sa Sikatuna Street

    http://www.philstar.com/cebu-news/715245/old-acacia-tree-falls-kills-puj-driver

    • kabino

      Anne naka agi ka ngadto? Kung sa picture nag base maayo pa imu ngadtoon..

      • annie

        kaigi sab. apiki kaayo.

      • kabino

        Ay apiki diay nang 4 lanes… if the center island will be taken.. it won’t even gain a lane.

  24. annie

    maypa ibutang nila sa mga area na d kaayo maagian og sakyanan. like kanang sa likod sa immaculada. sayang gani ang IT park kay gamay nalang mga area na wai building. nice pod unta ngadto butngan og daghang kahoy.

  25. annie

    yeah apiki gihapon ang 4 lanes dra na area basta ting pamauli na sa employees and students. if this project will only “remove the center island” then d gihapon nila e widen ang road then wala ra siya gamit.

  26. carol

    Too bad that trees does’nt give us WIFI but only OXYGEN we breathe…I totally disagree of cutting down/removing trees that was standing there for a decades or even a century is not worth it just for the sake of a summit that would last for a days or a
    week…PLEASE think a thousands folds and besides Im sorry to tell u this .!It was’nt u who planted it.and we never know whom
    .so means U have no certain right to do it…why not ask the people instead.
    .Its my opinion.i really dont care if u hate me for this my only concern is the effect of the environment which is been an issue for years..if it doesnt help the nature?them please dont do it…or why not organized a tree planting to the participants instead or even to a local…i

  27. nelly

    Why would you ever cut down trees that took us many years to grow just for an activity that only last for a week or so? Mr. Mayor, I do agree with Ka brino’s point…Please think this over before you make up your final decision. What you are probably looking for is only one side of the problem, and that’s the traffic congestion. Please also take into consideration what these trees are giving and doing for us-things which we may not directly feel or see but has big impact in our daily lives. Trees are good absorbent of carbon, they are the main agent for carbon sequestration to at least trim down the volume of carbon that’s trapped in our atmosphere contributing to the global warming, to name a few. we need to plant more trees instead and nurture those that are growing. So NO TO CUTTING OF TREES please.

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