Albay’s task force to trim 8,000 trees in 15 towns, 3 cities


APSEMO chief Cedric Daep explains during a press briefing the creation of Albay task force that will trim 8,000 trees as part of typhoon mitigation program of the provincial government of Albay. Photo by Rhaydz B. Barcia



LEGAZPI CITY --- Some 8,000 trees along national and provincial roads in the province of Albay are to be trimmed as part of the disaster preparedness measure being pursued by the Albay Public Safety Emergency and Management Office (APSEMO) in anticipation for the bad and stormy weather that could hit the province in the last two months of this year.

Cedric Daep, APSEMO chief, said in an interview on Sunday that Albay Gov. Francis Bichara, who is also the chair of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC), has ordered the creation of Task Force Pruning, a composite team which is tasked to implement road obstruction clearings.

Daep said the measure involves the province wide trimming of trees along main roads and national highways covering the 15 towns and three cities of the province.

The creation of the Task Force is a preventive public safety approach in disaster operation that can be regarded as a new strategy which is the first of its kind in the country, Daep explained.

The tree-trimming operation has started on Friday wherein the TF has dispatch three teams composed of personnel from the Departments of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Provincial Engineering Office, and the Albay Power Energy Corporation (APEC).

The teams on Friday started to conduct survey and identify and mark trees to be trimmed in various road networks in the province three districts.

Daep said that soon after the survey is completed trimming operation would start that is expected to be finished by the first week of December.

Dante Baclao, Albay provincial engineer, said six heavy equipment trucks (dump, boom, man lifter trucks) and chain saws are all ready for dispatch during the clearing operations.

Covered by the trimming operations are trees whose branches and leaves could obstruct and cut off the flow of power and communication lines.

Daep said “we decided to do road clearing as a preparedness measure to avoid power and communication outages when storm hits us.”

He said by cutting the branches and leaves “we can prevent the possible falling of trees along roads when strong winds hovers rendering roads to be impassable.”

The mitigation measure would also protect power and communication lines from breaking down, a situation that helps to assure the public of continues operations of the public utility services even during stormy weather.

It has been observed in the past that collapsed trees or even the fallen branches of the trees had rendered damage on properties including electric and communication posts which make hard for the firms to restore power supply and communication lines.

“Fallen trees also hampered the immediate delivery of relief assistance and medical response by concerned government agencies because they obstruct main roads and passageways,” Daep said.

He said the province had experience several terrible disastrous events wrought by super typhoons such as Melenio, Loleng, Rosing, and Reming where 300-kilometer winds and 400-millimeter rains pelted the province “We don’t want this to happen again,” he added.

Weather disturbances such as heavy rains, and typhoons spawn storm surges, flooding, lahar and mud flows, in low lying areas while landslide in mountain slopes.

Albay province had been a four-time Gawad Kalasag Awardee for instituting a “Zero Casualty” goal in disaster operations during typhoons and volcanic eruptions.