Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Controversy looms over the Olongapo City National High School (OCNHS) due to the illegal cutting of trees in the school compound.

As Committee Chair on City Environmental Protection, Councilor Jong Cortez invited to a hearing Principal Helen B. Agabao of OCNHS, Erick Nathaniel Ellano, Contractor and Atty. Raul H. Mamac, Officer in Charge of Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) last January 26, 2009 to shed light on the issue. Also present was Daniel P. Miguel from DepEd Olongapo City and Nelson V. Gorospe from PENRO.

The hearing was attended by Vice Mayor Cynthia G. Cajudo, City Legal Officer Angelito Orozco, Councilors JC Delos Reyes, Gie Baloy, Nathan Manalo, Ed Piano, Elen Dabu, Rodel Cerezo, Elmo Aquino and ABC President Carlito Baloy. Cortez presided over the hearing.

Mamac presented to the council a copy of the case filed on the same day to First Assistant City Prosecutor Roel G. Samonte at the City Prosecutor’s Office, against the school principal and contractor for in violation of the Presidential Decree (P.D.) 705, Section 68 as amended or the Anti Illegal Logging Act and Section 3 of P.D. 953 known as Requiring the Planting of Trees in Certain Places and Penalizing Unauthorized, Destruction, Damaging and Injuring of Certain Trees, Plants and Vegetation.

According to Mamac, his office conducted an inspection on the site immediately after receiving a call from a concerned citizen on January 13, 2009, three days after the actual cutting of the trees which was done on a weekend.

They also had a dialogue with Agabao and Ellano on January 21, 2009 which established the fact that no permit was ever secured from the CENR Office regarding the cutting of trees within the school grounds.

Agabao emotionally presented her side stating that personal issues not related to the matter at hand have been included in some news reports and she feels that she has been a victim of “trial by publicity.” Agabao also admitted that she is at fault for overlooking the matter and says that she stands by her command responsibility.

Agabao’s official statement to the CENRO read, “The school is undergoing various beautification and landscaping projects inside the campus and this project was under contract with ERICK NATHANIEL ELLANO of JATI Construction and Supply.”

The contractor admitted lack of knowledge regarding Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Regulations on cutting of trees.

Ellano also said that even if the trees were cut down, they have plans to incorporate planting of bonsai trees in the proposed Japanese Garden on June as the school’s Tree Planting Project.

Councilor Edwin Piano asked CENR Officials the ideal ratio of trees to be planted to replace one tree that was cut and Mamac said that a minimum of 20 seedlings per tree (1:20) but since DENR has set no limits, he added that “the more seedlings, the better.”

In closing, after hearing all sides of the story, Councilor Jong Cortez said that “all this is moot and academic since a case has been filed already.”

During the City Council Hearing on the illegal cutting of trees inside the campus grounds of Olongapo City National High School (OCNHS), Atty. Raul H. Mamac, OIC of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) explains a point while OCNHS Principal Helen B. Agabao, (foreground) listens.

PAO/ chay

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  • what command responsibility are you talking about ms.principal you are so irresponsible and showed no remorse at all and mr contractor what bonsai trees are you talking about and japanese garden for what?
    shame on you! both of you should be jailed or exiled in a treeless desert

    ms. principal why are you so particular and sensitive on personal issues hurled againts you! guilty?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/30/2009 7:02 PM  

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