The Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Central Visayas (DENR) filed a criminal complaint against 21 members of the board of directors and key officers of three corporations, a lot owner, and a steward before the Office of the City Prosecutor in Toledo City in Cebu province for cutting trees without an appropriate permit.
The respondents allegedly felled at least 982 trees in Barangay Talavera, Toledo City to give way to a solar energy project.
The complaint, which was filed on November 16, was based on actions that violated section 77 of Presidential Decree 705 or the revised forestry code of the Philippines as amended by Executive Order No. 277 and as renumbered by Republic Act 7161 in relation to Executive Order No. 23.
In a charge sheet signed by Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer in Cebu City Raul Pasoc that was received by the Prosecutor’s Office, the respondents are board of directors and key officers of Sunasia Energy Incorporated (SEI), Sta. Clara International Corporation and First Toledo Solar Energy Corporation.
It could be recalled a cease and desist order was signed by Pasoc on October 28 directing SEI through its project manager Jose Enrique Tolentino to immediately stop the further destruction of trees.
However, a week after two orders issued by CENRO Cebu City and Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), an inspecting team noted the company continued the operations.
The total volume of trees cut is approximately 2,190 cubic meters or equivalent to 928,560 board feet with an estimated cost of P18.5 million.
In a statement, DENR Regional Director Isabelo R. Montejo said the agency will continue to be vigilant and mindful of activities that harm and destroy the environment and natural resources.
“We will not hesitate to file the appropriate case if warranted on those individuals who desecrate our environment,” added Montejo.