Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Cutting of trees sparks outrage in 'Gapo'

OLONGAPO CITY - The cutting of trees inside the campus of a public high school here has sparked outrage among various sectors, especially environmentalists and the school's alumni.

They are directing their anger at Ellen Agabao, principal of the Olongapo City national High School, for what they said was her total disregard for the environment and for removing the trees that had served as "landmarks" in the school grounds. Agabao reportedly ordered the trees felled over the weekend.

"Teachers should be teaching our children to care for the environment and not destroy it. They should serve as role models in nature preservation. But Agabao showed OCNHS students the very opposite," said Dr. Art Mendoza, director of the James L. Gordon Memorial Hospital and an officer of OCNHS Alumni Association. Mendoza said the trees had been part and parcel of the daily campus life of past and present students. Those trees, he said, had stood there for as long as he can remember.

The local environmental group Protect & Preserve to Prosper took to task the local Department of Environment and natural Resources for not doing its job.

The group’s spokesperson, Pinky Garcia, said the local DENR officials were sitting on their butts while the trees were being cut.

“We have a law that states the cutting of trees requires permission from the DENR. Obviously, no permit was obtained. The DENR should now, therefore go after the violators,” said Garcia.

Nineteen-year-old Jimson Reyes recalled that they used to hold their classes under the shade of the now cut off trees.

“The area where the trees were was out watering hole. It is lamentable that future students of OCNHS will no longer enjoy the experience,” Reyes said.

Parents of students enrolled in the school also expressed dismay over the matter.

Patricia Chu, whose two sons are enrolled in OCNHS, said she was dumb- founded when her children related to her that the trees in their school were gone.

“Nag weekend lang, Ma, pagpasok naming, wala ng mga puno, putul-putol na,” said Chu, quoting her children.

--People's Journal

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