Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Olongapo school principal charged for cutting of trees

A school principal who allowed the cutting of trees inside a school compound in Olongapo has been charged with violating an environmental law.

Charged with violation of Presidential Decree No. 953 were Ellen Agabao, principal of Zambales National High School, along with her labor contractor Erick Nathaniel Ellano.

A complaint filed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) before the Olongapo City Prosecutor’s Office alleged that Agabao allowed the contractor to fell 12 trees inside the school on Jan. 13 without permit.

Environment Secretary Lito Atienza said Agabao ignored attempts by DENR personnel to prevent the tree-cutting.

Atienza said he also directed DENR field personnel involved to explain why they should not be charged administratively for failing to stop the cutting of the trees.

“We received reports that trees will be cut in the area. This prompted me to instruct, without any delay, our field personnel to avert such activity from happening. Since tree cutting in the area still took place, we will make our field personnel accountable and liable for what happened," Atienza stressed.

He said Agabao’s “reckless disregard for trees was unacceptable and ironic," considering that Agabao claims to be an advocate of a clean and green environment. She reportedly wanted to get rid of the trees to give way for the beautification of the school grounds.

The felled trees consisted of mango, Japanese acacia, eucalyptus, gmelina, agoho, duhat and coconut.

Atienza said Agabao failed to set a good example to students who are painstakingly being enlightened by the DENR through information campaigns on the importance of protecting the trees for future generations.

“Our determination to protect our trees is anchored on our willingness to prosecute anyone, anywhere that the law is violated," said Atienza. - GMANews.TV
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