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CICM Home Sweet Home tree cutting gets reprieve

HOMELY. The CICM owned Home Sweet Home is not just a retirement home for retired priests of the order but also provides lodging and venue for events like reunion like this Saint Louis University – College of Human Sciences class of 1989 which celebrated its 30th graduation in December 2019. PML photo

After eight trees felled, 28 were spared for the meantime as the Community Environment and Natural Resources – Baguio put a stop to cutting of trees at the Congregatio Immaculati Cordis Mariae (CICM) Home Sweet Home to give way to the widening of the Gov. Pack Road.

CENRO – Baguio Leandro de Jesus practically came to the “rescue” of the trees which are expected to be felled to allow the expansion of the road amidst clamor of locals to spare them as the CICM owned retirement place for priests is one of the remaining green patches in the city.

De Jesus said that the contractor of the DENR also applied for the cutting permit for 32 trees and that he has suspended the cutting until further notice.

“As of now, only eight trees were cut. These include four agoho, two pine trees and two avocado trees,” De Jesus said.

He said the suspension of cutting was to give way to the conduct of investigation of the possible violations of the contractor.

He said that some of the trees spared from the cutting had their roots exposed which entails remediation measures before the cutting can resume.

In a letter to Department of Publics Works and Highways Baguio Engineering District head Rene Zarate, CICM Provincial Superior Father Jessie Hechanova asked for consideration of their concern in sparing the 36 trees from being cut.

In his letter Tuesday, February 2, the former Saint Louis University president raised “their concern regarding thirty six (36) trees , most of them are Benguet Pine Trees, which are reportedly to be cut for the proposed widening project.”

Hechanova, former treasurer of the Panagbenga, said the trees give the city its natural charm that earned its monicker as “Summer Capital of the Philippines.

He wrote: “It is for this reason that Baguio City is known as the ‘City of Pines’.”

He added: “More than the refreshing green sights provided by these trees, there are undeniable environmental benefits like the reduction of air pollution and the prevention of soil erosion that these majestic pine trees give us.”

In the mildest tone, the priest said cutting the trees have saddened them as “the remaining green spaces are decreasing at an alarming rate.”

He added: “It is our responsibility to protect and preserve what is left of the green patches in Baguio City to ensure a sustainable healthy environment for future generations.”

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