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300-Year-Old Philippine Rosewood Tree Faces Another Threat to be Cut Down

300-Year-Old Philippine Rosewood Tree Faces Another Threat to be Cut Down

Local Officials Plan to Cut Down 300-Year-Old Philippine Rosewood Tree in San Francisco, Agusan del Sur

A 300-year-old Philippine Rosewood tree in San Francisco, Agusan del Sur faces danger anew of being cut down.

The 300-year-old Philippine Rosewood tree, locally referred to as “Toog,” is once again under danger of being cut down, nearly four years after being granted a pardon for preservation. The tree is located in Barangay Alegria, Philippines, and is thought to be the tallest and oldest of its kind in the country.

During a committee hearing initiated by the town council’s environment committee, most local officials expressed a preference for protecting people’s lives over preserving the historical value of a towering tree.

Philippine Rosewood Tree

The hearing was held in response to a Barangay resolution asking the mayor to conduct another assessment of the health status of the 54-meter tree, due to concerns about its safety during natural disasters such as storms or earthquakes.

Many residents living near the tree reported feeling afraid and sleepless after a recent earthquake, and some sought refuge elsewhere.

During the hearing, Mayor Grace Carmel Paredes-Bravo emphasized the importance of protecting the safety of the majority of people. The committee agreed to send a letter of invitation to government experts to assess the health status of the tree.

Philippine Rosewood Tree

Once a cutting permit was obtained by the regional office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, local officials were compelled to think about cutting down the centuries-old Toog tree for the third time.

Local government and conservationist groups decided in 2019 to postpone the tree’s removal awaiting a comprehensive investigation by experts. The next year, officials considered cutting the tree in two to keep it as a landmark, but this was put on hold by a local preservation group called Preserve the Toog Tree Please (STOP).

The tree was alive and healthy, according to experts Armando Palijon and Marcelina Pacho, but local officials are concerned about the safety of nearby residents.

The fate of the 300-year-old Toog tree remains unknown as government experts prepare to conduct another health check.

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