A bill seeking government protection for a 200-year-old dao tree with 49 meters high or about the size of a 16-storey building is found in a secondary forest in Cagayan de Oro City is now being pushed by the House Committee on Tourism.
Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, who authored the bill or HB 2792, refiled it when the Senate failed to approve it due to lack of time.
The dao tree or Dracontomelon Dao is one of the biggest and oldest tree in the country and can be found within a pocket secondary forest in the Integrated Forest Management Agreement area of the Pelaez Ranch in Barangay Cugman, said Rodriguez, chairman of the House Committee on Constitutional Reform.
Measuring 49 meters high and with a diameter of 222.8 centimeters and approximately 200 years old, Rodriguez said.
“It is imperative that the tree be declared the heritage tree of Cagayan de Oro City in order to ensure its long-term protection and can also be an additional tourist attraction for the city,” he added.
The bill seeks to designate the Department of Tourism, in coordination with the Cagayan de Oro City Cultural Heritage Conservation Council and the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority, to prepare a tourism development plan to ensure the protection and enhance tourism in the area where the tree stands.
The measure was unanimously approved by the tourism panel and endorsed the immediate passage by the House.
PHOTO: Gerald Mondala