(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Wednesday, 28 October, 2020) At 3:00 AM today, the eye of Typhoon MOLAVE (formerly QUINTA) was located based on all available data at 500 km Northwest of Kalayaan Islands, Palawan (14.0°N, 110.7°E) (outside of Philippine Area of Responsibility) with maximum sustained winds of 155 km/h near the center and gustiness up to 190 km/h. It is moving West Northwestward at 20 km/h. Caraga Region will experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers due to Localized Thunderstorm. Possible flash floods or landslides during severe thunderstorms. Light to Moderate winds coming from Northeast to Southeast will prevail and the coastal waters will be Slight to Moderate with wave height from 0.6 to 2.5 meters.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

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

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

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)