Weekend readers vent out why City should keep center island trees
By Karl Aries Emerson F. Cabilao, UAP
DO you still remember a few years back when the picturesque line of century-old trees in the southern towns of Cebu were under threat because of a planned road widening? Not too long ago, trees along the spine of Sergio Osmeña Blvd. “disappeared” in the midst of the road rehabilitation work that was done in that area.
Recently, the trees on the center island of Pope John Paul II Ave. in Mabolo have been targeted for removal to give way to more concrete road space. Government leaders say the removal of these trees would address the worsening traffic in the area with the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings, which Cebu City will be hosting, drawing near. Environmentalists and non-government organizations are howling in protest — this has resulted to some modifications in the plans for the avenue and their green canopies.
It seems like development has always been equated with tall buildings sprouting like mushrooms and green and open spaces being paved everywhere. Every little patch of green has been considered as a “waste of space” that something must be built on it. Today, Sun.Star Weekend readers give their take on this proposal to give more passage for cars and other motor vehicles at the expense of oxygen-producing and shade-providing trees.
“No, I am not in favor with removing the islands and its trees. I admit I have no experience when it comes to road works and the like, but I have been driving in Cebu for about seven years, and all I can say is that in my opinion the island isn’t the problem, the drivers are. Apparently a two-lane road is a one-lane road with an additional lane for parking/stopping (for a long time). Implementing traffic rules seems to be the key. Besides, an island controls jaywalking to a certain extent, adds a certain protection to drivers from colliding with one another from opposite lanes, and trees add beauty and a sense of nature in the ever-growing city.” — Julius Oliver Moller, law student
“First, I am not in favor of removing the center island trees on our roads for the reason of smoothening road traffic flow because there is no hard-proof evidence that says doing so will indeed result to smoother road traffic flow. Second, it is an act that destroys the environment and deprives us of benefits like clean air, shade, and beauty. Third, such act ignores and chooses not to exhaust efforts to enforce existing traffic laws like ‘no stopping anytime,’ ‘no parking,’ and Jeepney stops that time and time again have been identified as more effective solutions to achieving smoother road traffic flow.” — Eric Smith, co-convenor (Youth for Livable Cebu)
“I am not in favor of removing the center island trees because the root cause of traffic problem here in Cebu is the lack of discipline among the drivers and the huge number of vehicles. Instead of cutting trees, they should implement a coding scheme and clearly designate jeepney stops. The city does not have enough greenery and those trees help cool down the city environment thus it is not wise to remove them.” — Christine Paula Love Bernasor, associate for partnerships (Rare Philippines)
“I never really understood why cutting down trees came up as a solution to solve the traffic problems in Cebu. I have been driving for more than a decade now and yes, Cebu traffic is getting worse every single day, but I never really thought of trees as the cause of traffic, I think what our city needs is better road planning and proper enforcement of rules. How about proper jeepney stops for loading and unloading of passengers? Or since Citom officers now have a new neon green uniforms, maybe it’s about time they stop hiding during rush hours and catch those drivers not following the traffic signs so that Cebuanos will learn to stop saying ‘mao diay traffic kay naay Citom!’” — Elise Ezpeleta-Demiar, architect