Malcolm Square like a woman stripped of clothes

>> Saturday, January 28, 2017

Alfred P. Dizon

BAGUIO CITY – Malcolm Square or People’s Park in this summer capital is now like a woman stripped of her clothes after two mature Agoho trees there were cut by persons whose minds maybe as bare as the desert.
Netizens said these airheads deserve to be banished to the Scarborough Shoal so the Chinese there could give them more lessons on how to destroy the environment by making them dig for corals to make islands.   
The oldies who used to sit at Malcom Square and read newspapers, have their shoes shined or meet their friends are no more since sitting there would mean torture from harsh rays of the sun.
Gone are protective canopies of branches which made the park cool and a comfort zone for the weary like senior citizens – those who would sit and relax or have a talk with buddies after a walk or visit at the market.
The park had been touted world-class after a P10-million makeover by a contractor. Pundits however said not even P2 million could have been used for its renovation which was just putting some tiles here and there and cementing areas which could have been left where plants could grow. But, again, according to netizens, business is business and contractors go into it to get rich.
Anyhow, the city government has started investigating the controversial cutting of the trees last November.
A report by Eileen P. Refuerzo, head of the city information office said Mayor Mauricio Domogan created an ad hoc fact-finding committee to probe whether city employees involved in the incident are liable to administrative charges.
The three-man committee chaired by community affairs officer III Michelle Agbuya was given 20 days to finish the probe and hearings and to submit findings and recommendations on the incident.
Refuerzo said the mayor issued Administrative Order No. 189 series of 2016 to determine prima facie case against three city environment and parks management office (CEPMO) employees involved in the incident.
Domogan said the decision was based on a letter of CEPMO head Cordelia Lacsamana who recommended filing of administrative charges against said employees for alleged “defiance of legal and moral order.”
“Upon review of the documents submitted by Ms. Lacsamana, the undersigned believes that the acts committed by the above-named employees may constitute gross insubordination and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service under Rule 10, Section 46 (B-7 and 8) of the revised rules on administrative cases in the civil service,” the mayor said.
The three employees last November defended their decision to cut the two trees into minimum branches to “preserve and rejuvenate said trees and to ensure public safety.” The tree trunks are still standing after these were cut around three meters from the ground.
In their letter to the mayor and to Lacsamana, they said upon inspection, they found the trees’ root base were already loose and incapable of supporting a heavy top.  
Seeing it as urgent and endangering public safety, they said they decided to severe the branches at that moment even as they coordinated with their office’s forestry division to work out processing of trimming permit but which was not immediately done as the officer in charge was at that moment attending a seminar.
They said the remaining trees in the area were not trimmed as they did not exhibit advanced center rot as the two other trees had.
In their letter, the CEPMO personnel apologized for acting without first securing the permit, adding lapse on their decisions will not happen again in the future.
The cutting earned criticism from residents and from the mayor who said he was shocked by the sight of the bald trees as he could not recall signing a permit for such activity.
Lacsamana earlier said she only ordered her employees to shape the trees to accommodate Christmas decorations for the opening of the newly rehabilitated park and did not expect them to undertake the “trimming without permission.”
Whatever, it was not “trimming” that happened. It was “cutting.” Inya metten. These guys who cut those trees should be made to sit there all day under the sun as penance for what they did. But that wouldn’t be enough. Ipaikkat yo pay ti panpantalon da ta marikna da nu kasanu ti malabusan like what they did to the park.
But there is no cure for a barren mind, so we will leave it at that and have the city government determine their appropriate punishment.
Following this, the city government through the CEPMO set rules on operation and maintenance of the park.
In Administrative Order No. 196 series of 2016, Domogan decreed “admission at the park as a protected landscape will be free of charge to the public through harmonious interaction of man and land while providing opportunities for public enjoyment through recreation and tourism within the normal lifestyle and economic activity. All activities or facilities in the park will be regulated, licensed and permitted through the CEPMO with payment for use of area or environmental maintenance fee and permitting to be done based on City Ordinance No. 18 series of 2016.
“The city government also reserves the right to disallow any activity.
Only the following activities will be allowed at the park:
Social programs, musical concerts, television shows or TV and film promotion, field demonstration, sports tournament, skills Olympics or competition, political rallies and similar activities consistent with intended use of the park.”
“The following activities will be prohibited: “smoking, drinking liquor or alcoholic beverages; bonfire or undue burning, sleep out, walking and or displaying of medium to big sized dogs and similar pets, pasturing and turning loose of pets and other domesticated animals, destroying or mutilating, picking or cutting of flowers and plants or uprooting of plants.” (Ni, awan met nakitak nga mula ijay)
“Others include “work out or practice driving of two or four-wheeled rides or vehicles, roller skating, skateboarding and similar rides; unnecessary nailing, bolting, posting of signage in any part of the park; urinating, littering, spitting and spitting of momma; gambling of any kind to include bingo socials; unauthorized flyer and poster distribution, religious open preaching; personal services like massage, nail spa, henna tattooing; fortune telling using cards or any devices or tools; begging, caroling by individuals or groups, soliciting contribution or donation; marketing or promotion of products, product sampling; peddling of services and goods of any kind to include shoe shine, cutflower or ornamental plants (to include along the sidewalks fronting Magsaysay Avenue and Session Road and walls of the stair landing of overpass); 
destroying, disfiguring, defacing or vandalizing any monument, implements, amenities, devices, displays, signs or any property installed thereat by the government and or the use thereof for purposes of hanging any form of advertisements; leaving unmanaged solid waste materials after the event and/or untended solid waste materials in designated pick up points for organized event; mixing of concrete and/or stocking of concrete materials along the side streets, and trade fairs (except sponsored by the City Government of Baguio through Sangguniang Panlungsod action .”
(Makaaanges ka pay?)
Other banned activities: “Parking of vehicles both private, government  or public utility vehicles inside the Malcolm Square or along Perfecto Street specifically (from the corner of Session Road and Perfecto Street to corner Magsaysay Avenue and Perfecto Street will also be prohibited. However, unloading or loading of goods for business establishments in the area is allowed from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. only on a “drop-and-go policy.”
The loading areas of Trancoville, Aurora Hill, Tiptop and other transport groups should be relocated to other areas but this will be subject to appropriate administrative order or Traffic and Transport Management Committee resolution.”

See what cutting of two trees can do?


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