Worse flooding

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    I called up Tita Cecille Yumul, the guru, lifesaver, cultural and environmental advocate and the head of Save the Trees Movement, last Tuesday afternoon amidst heavy rains along Mac Arthur Highway in San Fernando.


    I have to bear the heavy traffic jam from San Agustin to Sindalan. Thinking that there had been an accident because of the slippery roads, I patiently moved along with the other cars.

    Although when I passed by Pilar Village going to the Eucharist chapel and SACOP area in Maimpis, I discovered what was causing the traffic jam. To my dismay, it was flooding on the right side of the road if you are heading Angeles City, exactly where the decade-old Acacia trees were cut and uprooted.  Right from the very spot where Senator Jamby Madrigal spotted a laborer hauling the roots of a cut tree during an ocular inspection early last month.

    What a coincidence. Then moving towards Sindalan where more trees were cut, I saw bigger volume of water along the uncompleted drainage probably a project of the DPWH. Worse flooding is what we get from what the government did to the Acacia trees.

    So when Tita Cecille finally answered my call, I told her everything I saw and she burst out into her usual powerful voice saying that, “Now, they will see what I meant the last time we argued on television.” She said she explained then that the trees of course do not cause flooding, instead they open pores on earth as their roots sip water from the surface.

    The DENR officers then said the trees cause flooding because their roots destroys the drainages and the water goes to the road. But of course, we need not have to be a scientist to know that that is a lot of bulls—t. Of course, if not trimmed [properly, Tita Cecille said, the trees’ roots will find their way around but with proper care and trimming from the crown, the roots will follow suit and will seek deeper sanctuary in the grounds.

    The trees are life savers. They are the best defense against soil erosion. And now that there were some 150 Acacia trees already killed along Mac Arthur Highway, we ahev less defense against flood and erosion.

    The fight against the killing of Acacia trees is still on by the way. The last time the group were together was during the Burol sa Kalikasan at the St. Scholastica Academy at the City of San Fernando. I appreciate the efforts and sincerity of the sisters of St. Scholastica for they expose the students to important issues on climate change and environment. This is what we need. A community that is pro-active. A community that participates in decision-making and nation-building. A community that knows what it wants. Gone were the days when only the leaders decide on what is “best” for us because most often than not, all they do is for their own interest only and not for the general public.

    The Save the Trees Movement is still conducting meeting s and talks with barangay leaders and other organizations like the Pampanga Medical Society. The doctors’ group supports the movement against the killing of Acacia trees.

    We need more people to be vigilant. DENR Secretary Lito Atienz did not actually revoke the DPWH order to cut trees. Everything the DENR earlier announced was all for public relations purposes to shake off the heat from them.

    The truth is the order is very much in effect until September 26 so we are calling on everyone to observe, watch and guard the trees before the DPWH and its contractors kill another one. We will also demand from the national government to seek new public consultations after September 26.

    The Save the Trees Movement needs all the support it can get, not only from Sen. Jamby Madrigal, the local leaders but also from various sectors and organizations.

    The more people fighting this environmental injustice, the better for our children. We might not see the day when everyone in the community is actively conscious about environmental issues because the Philippines is very delayed as far as this matter is concerned.

    But at least by helping protect and preserve the Acacia trees along Mac Arthur Highway, we will be content to know that we did our part when the time called upon us.

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