NAGA CITY --- The Camarines Sur II Electric Cooperative, Inc., (CASURECO II) will soon continue to cut trees obstructing its backbone lines and electric poles as these trees often cause power interruptions and heavy damage during calamity, despite possible opposition from environmentalists and even without permit from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
In an interview with Bicol Mail, early this week, Emerlita Candia, CASURECO II officer-in-charge (OIC) said that under Republic Act No. 11361, otherwise known as “The Anti-Obstruction of Power Lines Act”, electric cooperatives are authorized to cut down trees even without DENR permit, especially if they posed threat to the cooperative’s electrical poles and wires. This is a new law signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on August 8 this year.
Candia said that although they are still waiting for the implementing rules and regulations of the said law, CASURECO II will continue with the cutting of trees citing Section 7 of RA 11361 which states: (c) To conduct trimming, pruning, cutting, or clearing activities for tall growing plants within the power line corridor without securing prior clearance or permit from, but with due notice to, the DENR, Philippine Coconut Authority in case of coconut trees, the concerned local government units (LGUs) and other relevant government agencies.
Meanwhile, Rinner Bucay, CASURECO II spokesman said that Typhoon ‘Tisoy’ left a total of 268 damaged poles for the entire coverage area of CASURECO II, 40 of which are in Naga City. He also added that the 80% of the collapsed poles resulted in damage to backbone and lateral lines.
It will be recalled that the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) was not able to finish its road widening project in San Felipe, Naga City due to a Temporary Environmental Protection Order issued by a court in favor of a petition by an environmentalist group to stop the cutting of trees.