Albay Governor Joey Sarte Salceda received the Green Eco Champion Award for the province during the First Environmental Summit in the Philippines at the SMX Convention Center in the Mall of Asia, Pasay City, last week.
At the awards ceremony Green Convergence head Dr. Angelina P. Galang, a well-known environmentalist in the country, cited Albay (sic) as a model province in the entire country for its programs on environmental protection.
Salceda dedicated the citation to every Albayano who continuously believes in the beauty of the province and the strength and courage to live, whether the weather is good or bad.
The green (sic) economist thanked the officers of the Green Convergence Philippines for the award it bestowed on the province.
Salceda attributes atttitude to the philosophy of constant kindness and universality of human dignity. He pointed out that the Sangguniang Panlalawigan has passed various ordinances towards the vigorous preservation and protection of the environment.
But wait, how come he did not made known any whimper or disagreement, as 51 pine (agoho) trees were felled down to give way to a road widening project along the Maharlika highway in the province?
The area being devoid of the trees are situated in Barangay Rawis just three kilometers from the central business district of Legazpi city.
This, despite the presence of strong oppositon of environmentalist groups which earlier launched signature campaigns and actions protesting the demolition of the trees.
Last year, the province removed 236 trees also along the national highway traversing Albay.
Even the city government, joined Albay without hesitation, with the issuance of certification it was not objecting to the cutting of trees along the city’s major roads.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources Bicol region public information office staff Henry Hernandez confirmed the central office issued on February 10th an authorization allowing the cutting of trees.
The go signal prompted a team from the Department of Public Works and Highways in going ahead with the tree demolition afterwards.
It must be recalled that in Naga City, environmentalists prevailed over the move to clear its highway of hundred-year old trees which sets it in a class apart from Sorsogon province, or Legazpi city or Albay.