Amid flooding in “Ulysses”-hit Cagayan, gov’t says it will require public transport cooperatives to plant trees for franchise acquisition

(Eagle News)–Transportation Secretary Art Tugade said the government would make the planting of trees a requirement for public transport cooperatives and individuals to acquire a franchise or license.

Tugade made the announcement as he blamed the cutting of trees for the flooding woes of Cagayan amid the onslaught of Typhoon “Ulysses.”

In a statement, Tugade added the Cagayan River was also prone to overflow during inclement weather.

“Mapapakita ‘ho dito ‘yung dalawang pangangailangan: Number 1 ‘ho, ‘yung pagtigil ng pagputol ng puno dito o ‘yung reforestation program ‘ho kailangang ituloy ‘yun. Pangalawa, dredging sa Cagayan River,” he said.

He said the DOTr will be closely coordinating with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and  local government units to identify areas where reforestation is needed, noting that the  initiative–which was suggested by a Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory board director—would be implemented nationwide.

“Kung may kooperatiba ka diyan, ili-limit mo minimum mo diyan: 500 trees kada prangkisa na ibibigay ko sa’yo. Kung gagawin ‘ho namin ‘yan, ‘yung pagtatanim ng puno doon sa pag-issue ng prangkisa o mga lisensya, marami ‘ho tayong matatamnan,” Tugade said.

Meanwhile, Tugade said the Philippine Coast Guard’s relief, rescue and retrieval operations are  ongoing  after the devastation of “Ulysses.”

He said the PCG led by Commandant George Ursabia sent  floaters such as boats and trucks to the province.

He said choppers and planes are also being used.

Within the week, he said  the DOTr will also participate in the distribution of relief goods, including food and water, to the locals.

In cooperation with the Department of Labor and Employment, the DOTr will also donate 100 fiber glass boats to coastal communities.

On Sunday, President Rodrigo Duterte visited Cagayan, which has been placed under a state of calamity due to the effects of “Ulysses.”