Chocolate Hills "turning green" from too many trees, irked mayor may have them cut even if she gets charged for it

Interaksyon.com reports that Bohol’s tourism sector is alarmed over "the seeming ’lost grandeur’ of the Chocolate Hills as mature trees now cover the brown surface of some of the 1,776 mounds." The hills are scattered throughout the towns of Carmen, Batuan, and Sagbayan.

The Chocolate Hills Dilemma: Keep the trees and lose the look or keep the look and lose the trees? (Screenshot from a YouTube video uploaded by user rapz75ace73)

 

Interaksyon.com reports that Bohol’s tourism sector is alarmed over "the seeming ’lost grandeur’ of the Chocolate Hills as mature trees now cover the brown surface of some of the 1,776 mounds." The hills are scattered throughout the towns of Carmen, Batuan, and Sagbayan.

 

According to the report, the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) had already resolved the dilemma between cutting the trees-which contradicts the greening program of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-and saving Bohol’s most popular tourist attraction.

But Carmen Mayor Conchita Toribio delos Reyes is reportedly disappointed that PAMB has not yet received the "go signal" for the trees to be cut.

 

In June, PAMB-chaired by DENR regional executive director Maximo Dichoso-submitted an action plan to DENR Sec. Ramon Paje. PAMB’s recommendation was to "cut the trees that cover 80 percent of the surface area of the hills to revive the original stature of the hills." However, Paje has not yet responded up to now.

 

Meanwhile, comments regarding the Chocolate Hills’ "deterioration," flooded Delos Reyes’ office. This prompted the mayor, who is also a PAMB member, to say that she "might go out of her way to have the trees cut even if she would have to face charges for it."

 

The Interaksyon.com report pointed out that cutting the trees without clearance from the DENR secretary would be a violation of Executive Order 33 regarding the moratorium on cutting trees and Republic Act 7586 or the National Integrated Protected Areas System Law.

 

For more on this story, log on to Interaksyon.com.

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