DENR to hold dialogue with concerned sectors on the fate of AgSur’s 300-year-old tree

BUTUAN CITY, Sept. 22 (PIA) – A place with natural resources abound, the province of Agusan del Sur became one of the tourist destinations that is usually visited by backpackers to explore the 300-year-old Philippine Rosewood Tree which is known to the locals as “Toog Tree” situated in the municipality of San Francisco.

This towering 54-meter Toog tree is considered the tallest and the oldest tree in the country. However, residents nearby are more concerned over the risk it constitutes especially during earthquakes, as the giant centuries-old tree was discovered to have holes inside its trunk.

“We are very thankful that this Toog tree will soon be cut especially that our house is just a few distance from here. During the latest earthquake that we experienced, if it had lasted longer, it’s really risky. The other toog tree was even uprooted, how much more this oldest Toog tree which has already holes on its trunk,” said a concerned local resident.

According to Bunawan, Agusan del Sur CENRO Jerome Albia, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Caraga has issued the clearance to cut last year after the result of the conducted research by the experts has proved that the heritage tree poses danger to the locals due to the deterioration of this hardwood specie, with a rating of 5.4 based on biochemical and structural analysis, which means to be of high potential hazard.

“The research team was there and they conducted the bio-mechanical structural analysis last year in July. So that’s the very reason why the DENR regional director issued the clearance to cut because of the recommendation of the research that it posed high risk to the Toog tree,” bared Albia.

CENRO Albia added that there were also other sectoral groups that pushed for the conservation of the Toog Tree as it is part of the rich culture, legacy and heritage of Agusan del Sur. “During the issuance of the permit to cut, there were groups who opposed and expressed that the Toog Tree should be saved and preserved,” he said.

Meanwhile, come September 25, 2020, the LGU-San Francisco, together with the DENR and other sectors will convene for a consultation and dialogue before making a finality of decision to cut the eco-tourism landmark or to consider other options to save it. (JPG/PIA-Agusan del Sur)

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