May 21, 2009

They are definitely not tree-huggers

On Monday, I showed you some of the beautiful acacia trees that are still numerous in my little corner of Quezon City. This 'corner' is actually an academic district which includes the University of the Philippines – Diliman, Miriam College (formerly Maryknoll College) and Ateneo de Manila University. The road which connects these three is Katipunan Avenue, which used to have a narrow island which separated the main road from a side road that gave motorists safe access to the commercial establishments and condominiums on one side of the road. That narrow island used to be lined with beautiful acacia trees too. Then about four years ago, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) started cutting down the trees. Of course, the students, faculty and employees of the schools and the residents of the subdivisions in the area raised a massive howl of protest. To make a long story short, the MMDA was forced to stop cutting the trees but by that time, only the trees at either end of the road were still standing. On February 13, 2009, my husband and I went home from work as usual and those few remaining trees were still there. On the afternoon of February 14, we saw these men hacking the curb of the island and all the trees were gone! There was a sign that said that the trees were not cut down but removed with their roots and planted elsewhere. Where? No one knows. How deep do you think the roots of Monday's 60-year-old acacias would be? How big a hole do you think they would leave behind? The holes I saw looked to be about one meter (3 feet) in diameter and depth. The MMDA did not give the communities here any warning or information before the trees were uprooted in the middle of the night and the early morning of a Saturday when most students and faculty weren't around because there were no classes. The MMDA has not released any information or photos to reassure the communities here that the trees were planted and are thriving in their new home. This is my first story about the MMDA but it won't be my last.

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) workmen clearing road rubble after uprooting acacia trees along Katipunan Avenue

18 comments:

Halcyon said...

The trees are gone???

Unbelieveable. That is a shame.

Vogon Poet said...

It's a pity, thanks to MMDA!
I hope that they really re-planted these trees, acacias are strong. Keep us posted...

B Squared said...

What a tragedy.

Ken Mac said...

wow. They do construction here at all hours, but they need permits to raze trees. Criminal!

Joy said...

I'm gutted, Hilda. Just gutted. When we are we going to learn?

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marley said...

Boo hiss! The MMDA are nasty! Fancy doing that, with no warning :(

It reminds me of a demonstration here. In my community there is a green area with trees, one of them being a huge pine. The Council announced it needed felling due to its size. The locals set up camp and watched the tree to protect it. As time went by less and less people turned out to help. One day a man was guarding the tree on his own, he fancied a cup of tea so went back into his house. He came back out after his cuppa and the tree was down! The Council had been lying in wait! I know I shouldn't laugh but the thought of the chap explaining to the others is too funny! The good news is that a new, large tree was planted as a replacement :)

Lois said...

That is such a shame! They did something similar here a few years back with a beautiful old oak tree in front of the building where I work. They waited until the weekend to take it down when the students and employees were not there. On Monday morning it was gone! Everyone was so upset but it was too late.

Jacob said...

So sad. And one cannot, unfortunately, believe anything the bureaucrats say and they are always concerned with only one thing: CYA!

Cezar and Léia said...

So sorry to know about it!
You are right to tell us, to alert us !
Thanks
Léia

Pam said...

Maybe its time to rally some treehuggers together and plant some trees this weekend!... I won't tell, shhh

Buck said...

Keep after them, Hilda! It's the only way to keep government honest.

Don and Krise said...

Hilda, great story. Please keep us posted whatever you find. As disappointing as it is, I really am not surprised they did this when no one was around. I hope the knucklehead that gave the OK to remove them gets some real public pressure. Go get'em Hilda!

Kaori said...

That is SO wrong! You're right, it is ugly and unbelievably sneaky of them to take the trees away. Definately want to know what happens!

That is the chicken said...

That's terrible! Don't public trees belong to everyone? Why do they always want to build more stuff and reduce the few natural elements left in our cities?

Layrayski said...

If I was there I think I'd have a stroke.

Gerardo said...

That so sad that government aloud to destroy urban trees, the same thing happen in my country with some beautiful trees. The world is now in climate crisis and instead of planting they are destroying.

Hilda said...

Pam:
We can't even do that anymore — the island itself is gone! Everything's just one wide road now, which was what the whole project was about. But that also means that the cars entering and leaving the parking lots no longer have any protection from the cars whizzing by.

Lyra:
That's exactly how I felt when we saw these guys that Saturday.

George said...

I find it hard to believe that the trees were removed and only those relatively small holes were left. All to often 'progress' is really just the opposite.