6.26.2019

Laws On Cutting Trees In The Philippines

Laws On Cutting Trees In The Philippines





Disclaimer

Nothing you read here is to be taken as legal advice or professional guidance. This is our personal experience that we are sharing with you. If you see something in this post that is incorrect or if you want to add something, then let us know through the comment section at the bottom of this article.
 

Table Of Contents

Our Personal Experience With Tree Cutting In The Philippines 


Depending on the situation you may obtain a tree cutting permit from DENR, PCA or your local barangay.

We have engaged in tree cutting during construction and maintenance of our home and property. The land only had a handful of coconut trees that needed to be cleared. This was easy to do, as the land had been converted to residential vs. agricultural use and thus the removal was allowed under RA 10593 upon payment of the required fees per tree in order to obtain a permit from the PCA (Philippine Coconut Authority).

We also used other trees from nearby properties in the construction of our home. Permits for cutting those trees were obtained from the barangay. None of those other trees were "premium species," which shall be discussed in detail later in this post.

During the building of our fence several mahogany trees had to be cut and that required a DENR permit. 

After a few years living here another tree issue grew up. One of the neighbor's trees began to threaten our electric cable. The power co-op said that they were only responsible for trees that encroach upon the main cables. The co-op informed us that it was the customer's responsibility to deal with trees that threaten cables in the local loop (from the pole to the house). The Major update on Anti-Obstruction Law at the end of this article addresses this issue and if we had the same problem today it would turn out differently. This particular tree threatened not only our power line, but also the power line feeding the barangay streetlamps. The tree was also overhanging a main road and presented a hazard to anyone passing by. We had discussed the danger with our neighbor and the possibility that if the tree came down that it could take down two power lines and possibly cause a traffic accident or electrocute people nearby. Ultimately, the barangay pitched in to help with removing the offending tree. 

REPUBLIC ACT NO. 386 THE CIVIL CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES addresses that last example:
Article 483. Whenever a large tree threatens to fall in such a way as to cause damage to the land or tenement of another or to travelers over a public or private road, the owner of the tree shall be obliged to fell and remove it; and should he not do so, it shall be done at his expense by order of the administrative authorities. (390a)
According to the above law, since public safety and a public road is involved the barangay should get involved to help resolve the problem. And they did.

Articles 679 and 680 of RA 386 goes in to detail regarding trees that affect adjoining properties:
Article 679: No trees shall be planted near a tenement or piece of land belonging to another except at the distance authorized by the ordinances or customs of the place, and, in the absence thereof, at a distance of at least two meters from the dividing line of the estates if tall trees are planted and at a distance of at least fifty centimeters if shrubs or small trees are planted.

Every landowner shall have the right to demand that trees hereafter planted at a shorter distance from his land or tenement be uprooted.

The provisions of this article also apply to trees which have grown spontaneously. (591a)

Article 680. If the branches of any tree should extend over a neighboring estate, tenement, garden or yard, the owner of the latter shall have the right to demand that they be cut off insofar as they may spread over his property, and, if it be the roots of a neighboring tree which should penetrate into the land of another, the latter may cut them off himself within his property. (592)
There are no tree cops going around assuring compliance with these two articles. You are going to have to work with your neighbor if there is a problem tree. 

Take note of the very specific wording: the owner of the adversely affected property has "the right to demand," yet nothing is said about the owner of the offending tree(s) having a responsibility or legal obligation to respond to the demand. Unless the tree is an imminent threat to life and or property the only real power that the adversely affected land owner seems to have is to cut roots that actually cross the property line.

Article 680 does not explicitly state that you can cut the branches of your neighbor's tree without permission if they are overhanging your property, which means you don't have legal right to do it. You need to get your neighbor's permission in writing in order to cut overhanging branches. 

It may be necessary to access the property that the tree is growing on in order to make a healthy cut. If you improperly cut overhanging limbs from your side of the property line it may actually create a more dangerous tree and potentially leave that you open to liability if this is done without permission from the owner of the tree. Cutting limbs at the property line (rather than near the tree) may damage a tree, make it unstable or create a wound that allows pests and disease to enter. Limbs need to be cut at the branch collar and if they are cut too long they will not heal.

Cutting the roots can cause at least as much damage to a tree as cutting the branches (including creating a hazardous tree). Perhaps the law gives the owner of an encroached property the specific right to cut roots and not branches because roots have the potential to be more damaging to the structural integrity of a building and are more of an physical threat to a structure (even if the fruit of such a threat might be years in the future). Tree roots are a known cause of subsidence due to soil displacement, particularly in clay soils when roots infiltrate and consume moisture causing clay soils to shrink. This same problem can affect concrete walls. The concrete block septic systems used in the Philippines are also susceptible to root infiltration. Pipes and concrete walkways are also vulnerable.

Another reason why Philippine law might view roots and limbs differently is due to the fact that roots actually attach to physical real property (see section on overhanging fruit). 

People often plant trees right on the property line and over time the tree line creeps. This often produces the belief in the tree owners that the property line should also move and they will fight for it. Be watchful for this scenario especially if your property is not yet fenced.

Article 430 of RA 386 provides land owners with the explicit right to enclose their property with a physical fence/wall:
Every owner may enclose or fence his land or tenements by means of walls, ditches, live or dead hedges, or by any other means without detriment to servitudes constituted thereon.
Tree roots are capable of depriving a land owner of the right to enclose their property, destroying existing fencing and creating a substantial encroachment on property. If you have first hand experience dealing with the invasive buttress roots of mahogany and other types of trees, then you understand how detrimental they can be to a property line and any fencing that may be constructed upon it.

In spite of the fact that Article 680 gives property owners the right to cut encroaching roots doing so can cause a healthy tree to become a serious threat to life and property. In such cases the entire tree may need to be cut down and not just the roots and from this point we venture into various problematic scenarios. I can see how this situation can cause a lot of conflict among neighbors.

I cannot advise anyone what to do, but I can tell you what we might do if a neighbor's tree(s) were threatening to fall on our property or if their branches were damaging or threatening to damage our house:
  • Talk to the neighbor. This is always the first step.
  • Talk with a barangay official. If we cannot work it out with the neighbor, then we may have to escalate the matter to the barangay. What if the person with whom we are having issues is a Barangay official or is related to them?
  • Talk to DENR. You might be able to get a permit from DENR or even the barangay to cut problem trees and or overhanging branches (not a good idea to just cut branches without proper notification of and permission from the tree owner).
  • Complain as soon as a problem arises and not allow time to drag because silence is consent and tree problems only grow larger with time.
  • Document every action you undertake to resolve the issue including who you talk to, when you talked to them and what was said.
  • If all else fails and it really matters, then it might be time to consult an attorney.
If a tree is an immediate threat to persons or property due to the possibility that it may fall, then it is subject to Article 483 of the civil code. Otherwise, diplomacy might be the best tool to keep your neighbor's tree away from the property line. And getting what you require from your neighbors may take a lot of diplomacy. It is a good idea to maintain a good relationship with every owner of property that adjoins yours, though this is not always possible.

DENR: Go-To Authority For Tree Cutting Questions


Before you cut trees you need to speak with the local DENR (Department of Environmental and Natural Resources) office. This is true whether you are the owner of the trees in question or if your neighbor has agreed to remove trees that are in some way encroaching your property.

The local offices of DENR are called CENRO (Community Environment and Natural Resources Office). After you explain the situation to them they can inform you of the laws and regulations and tell you what permits you need and who can issue them to you.

On many occasions, permit issuance is delegated to the barangay level.

Coconut trees are a separate issue and are addressed later.

If a neighbor's tree is damaging your property and or is a potential threat, then you may contact DENR. DENR may be willing to issue a permit to cut down or trim the tree(s).

The requirements for a tree cutting permit might vary, but this list is good for conveying the general idea:
1) Letter request addressed to Director of your local DENR, NCR (letter must state reason for cutting the tree(s))
2) Government issued identification of the requesting party
3) LGU Endorsement/Certification of No Objection (Municipality and Barangay) (must state "no objection" not "approve")
4) Copy of Transfer Certificate of Title (or OCT as applicable) and or Tax Declaration
5) Photo(s) of Tree and any damage that the tree may be causing to the property
6) Sketch Map showing the location of the Tree(s)
Additionally: 
1) The person requesting the tree(s) to be cut is responsible for acquiring a licensed contractor to cut the tree(s) upon issuance of permit.
2) If the person requesting the tree(s) to be cut is not the owner of the affected property, then DENR may or may not accept a signed and notarized copy of power of attorney.
3) The person requesting the tree(s) to be cut may be required to plant seedlings.
4) DENR may need to inspect the location.
Be prepared for more or less in the way of documentary requirements.

Once documentary requirements have been met and all documents have been presented to CENRO the general process for receiving the permits is as follows:
  • Receive Payment Order 
  • Pay inventory fee (P1,200/hectare) for planted and naturally growing trees but no payment required for less than 20 trees or if inventory will be conducted by the customer
  • If Inventory undertaken by customer:
  • Timber Inventory/Inspection Report with Tally Sheet/Stand and Stock Table, and Pictures
  • Tree Charting Map
The information above is only to give the reader an approximation of what is required. The process and requirements for a specific case may be simpler or more complicated. This is why I reiterate that it is necessary to discuss the specifics with CENRO.

A more detailed explanation of general permit requirements is available on the DENR website.

Laws Regulating Cutting Of Coconut Trees


In the case of coconut trees the PCA issues the permit. The Coconut Preservation Act of 1995, RA 8048, regulates the cutting down of coconut trees. RA 8048 was amended by RA 10593.

Sec. 4 describes the exceptions to the prohibition on cutting down coconut trees. There are several, but the two that are most pertinent to expat circumstances are cases #1 and #2:

1) The tree poses a threat to life and or property.

When any tree becomes a threat to life or property it falls under Article 483 of RA 386, discussed earlier in this post. In every case I would involve the appropriate government agencies before action is taken to assure that all necessary permits are in order and no laws are broken.

2) The property has been converted to residential, commercial or industrial type land use.

In the case of conversion of land use type, this can be done through the municipal assessor. When you convert the land to residential use you then need to pay the amended fee of P100 per tree and, as the regulation states, since the land has been converted to residential you are exempt from the replanting requirement.

Premium Tree Species


For years I have heard a lot of rumors about "premium trees." Many individuals I have spoken with have various ideas about what trees are included within the definition of the term. Frequently narra and mahogany come up and the Benguet Pine. Some mahogany species found in the Philippines are not native and are increasingly seen as invasive and having a negative impact upon native species within the environment. The toona calantas (aka kalantas & Philippine Cedar) is listed in the table below as a premium species. Toona calantas is native to the Philippines and toona is a genus within the mahogany family.

The earliest record I could find on the regulation of the permitting of the cutting of premium trees is a DENR Administrative Order No. 78 from 1987 that allows cutting premium hardwood trees on private land. This document lists twenty species of tree as premium hardwood species.

In 1992 the DENR issued Administrative Order No. 46 that delists acacia as one of the premium hardwood species.

Below I have provided a table showing the common and scientific names from the 1992 DENR list of premium trees:



Since this list is taken from a document that was issued almost 30 years ago it is possible that other names have been added to or taken from the listing. I hope to update this post with a more recent list when I can find one.

Ordinary Trees & Other Forest Products


Other "forest products" and trees that are not among the premium trees listing are still regulated and permits may still be required for cutting and or clearing them from private land.

The term "forest product" is defined in Presidential Decree 705 Section 3:
q) Forest product means timber, pulpwood, firewood, bark, tree top, resin, gum, wood, oil, honey, beeswax, nipa, rattan, or other forest growth such as grass, shrub, and flowering plant, the associated water, fish, game, scenic, historical, recreational and geologic resources in forest lands.
The same document/section also defines what is meant by forest lands:
d) Forest lands include the public forest, the permanent forest or forest reserves, and forest reservations.
Sec. 68 of PD 705 sheds light on an expanded definition of "forest products" to include materials defined in Sec 3(d) as pertaining to those same products when found on private lands:
SECTION 68. Cutting, Gathering and/or Collecting Timber or Other Products Without License. — Any person who shall cut, gather, collect, or remove timber or other forest products from any forest land, or timber from alienable and disposable public lands, or from private lands, without any authority under a license agreement, lease, license or permit, shall be guilty of qualified theft as defined and punished under Articles 309 and 310 of the Revised Penal Code:

Provided, That in the case of partnership, association or corporation, the officers who ordered the cutting, gathering or collecting shall be liable, and if such officers are aliens, they shall, in addition to the penalty, be deported without further proceedings on the part of the Commission on Immigration and Deportation.
"Any person who shall cut, gather, collect, or remove timber or other forest products...from private lands..."

If nothing else, the above statement should give any person pause before they go out to cut down any plant on their land in the Philippines. Talk to the local DENR first. This applies doubly to foreigners, as the latter part of Sec. 68 states that in addition to any jail and monetary penalties a foreigner shall also be deported without the opportunity for any hearing before the Commission on Immigration and Deportation.


Chainsaw Ownership Is Regulated In The Philippines


It is not only the cutting of trees that can get you into hot water in the Philippines. Being in possession of a chainsaw can also attract unwanted attention.

R.A. 9175, otherwise known as the Chainsaw Act of 2002 regulates the ownership of chainsaws in the Philippines:
Section 5. Persons Authorized to Possess and Use a Chain Saw. - The Department is hereby authorized to issue permits to possess and/or use a chain saw for the felling land/or cutting of trees, timber and other forest or agro-forest products to any applicant who:
a) has a subsisting timber license agreement, production sharing agreement, or similar agreements, or a private land timber permit;

b) is an orchard and fruit tree farmer;

c) is an industrial tree farmer;

d) is a licensed wood processor and the chain saw shall be used for the cutting of timber that has been legally sold to said applicant; or


e) shall use the chain saw for a legal purpose.
Sec. 5(e) might be used by an individual private landowner (or perhaps their foreign spouse) to obtain license for a chainsaw for personal use.

Sec. 6 states that license is valid for two years for a commercial licensee and five years for noncommercial licensees. Do not forget to renew the license or you are in violation of the law.

Sec. 7 describes penalties:
(a) Selling, Purchasing, Re-selling, Transferring, Distributing or Possessing a Chain Saw Without a Proper Permit. - Any person who sells, purchases, transfer the ownership, distributes or otherwise disposes or possesses a chain saw without first securing the necessary permit from the Department shall be punished with imprisonment of four (4) years, two (2) months and one (1) day to six (6) years or a fine of not less than Fifteen thousand pesos (P15,000.00) but not more Thirty thousand pesos (30,000.00) or both at the discretion of the court, and the chain saw/s confiscated in favor of the government.

(4) Actual Unlawful Use of Chain Saw. - Any person who is found to be in possession of a chain saw and uses the same to cut trees and timber in forest land or elsewhere except as authorized by the Department shall be penalized with imprisonment of six (6) years and one (1) day to eight (8) years or a fine of not less than Thirty thousand pesos (P30,000.00) but not more than Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) or both at the discretion of the court without prejudice to being prosecuted for a separate offense that may have been simultaneously committed. The chain saw unlawfully used shall be likewise confiscated in favor of the government.
Even if you are allowed to obtain a licensed chainsaw is it really worth the risk and trouble of having one? There are a lot of ways to run afoul of the law by owning a chainsaw.

And section 7 closes out with this admonition:
If the violation under this Section is committed by or through the command or order of another person, partnership or corporation, the penalties herein provided shall likewise be imposed on such other person, or the responsible officer(s) in such partnership or corporation.
If you hire someone to cut down the trees and there is no proper permit, then both of you are on the hook for any laws broken. Even if you are not the owner of the chainsaw you still commanded the person doing the cutting without doing your due diligence to make sure that they were following the law.

Avoid Harming Trees 


Presidential Decree No. 953 mainly deals with planting of trees on public lands and in subdivisions (requirements for developers), as well as prohibition against cutting or damaging vegetation in such areas. This law would not generally touch an expat - unless, for example, you were to run your vehicle by accident into a tree on public land. Otherwise, I would trust that most expats do not go out chopping trees down on public land in the Philippines. Honestly, if you are that bored, then it's way past time to go home.

PD 953 and Republic Act 3571 have been cited in cases where campaign materials have been nailed or otherwise illegally affixed to trees. So do not go around nailing things to the trees.

Anti-Obstruction Law Has Passed


There are many stories about persons who have planted fast growing trees under major main power lines with explicit intent to disrupt power. Major blackouts have been caused in the Philippines due to this behavior and this is the cause for the newly passed Republic Act 11361 known as the Anti-Obstruction Law. I have included some relevant parts of the new law below.

Section 5 defines the creation of an easement along the path of the "power line corridor":
Power Line Corridor. – The land beneath, the air spaces surrounding, and the area traversed by power lines including its horizontal, vertical, and similar clearance requirements shall constitute the power line corridor, which shall at all times be kept clear and free from any power line obstructions, dangerous structures, hazardous activities and improvements, and other similar circumstances in accordance with the provisions of this Act.

The horizontal, vertical, and other similar clearance requirements that constitute the power line corridor shall be determined by the Board of Electrical Engineering and approved by the Department of Energy (DOE), and shall be in accordance with the current Philippine Electrical Code.

In case where the power line corridor is wholly or partially located within a private property not owned by the owner or operator of the power lines, it shall constitute a legal easement upon the private property in accordance with the relevant provisions under Book II, Title VII, Chapter 2 of the Civil Code, except if the owner or operator of the power lines shall acquire, lease, or enter into other gratuitous or onerous arrangement with the property owner. In the case of legal easement, the owner of the private property shall be compensated the proper easement fee pursuant to the provisions of the Civil Code and other relevant laws, rules, and regulations.
The second paragraph refers to clearances. Clearances can be found in Annex A of the IRR for RA 11361. Please note that the linked document is only available in draft form at the time of this writing. In case it disappears you can also get it here.

Section 6 describes what land owners are prohibited from doing in proximity to power lines:
Prohibited Acts. - It is hereby declared unlawful for any person, whether natural or juridical, public or private, to:
(a) Plant or cause to be planted tall growing plants, including plants of whatever kind, variety, or height within the power line corridor;

(b) Construct or erect any hazardous improvements within the power line corridor;

(c) Conduct or perform any hazardous activities within the power line corridor;

(d) Prevent or refuse duly authorized agents of the owner or operator of power lines, entry to the property in the performance of acts enumerated under Section 7: Provided, that such entry is in accordance with the provisions of Section 8; and

(e) Perform other analogous acts or activities, which will impair the conveyance of electricity and cause damage to power lines
There have been cases in the Philippines where property owners purposefully planted fast growing tree directly beneath power lines knowing that this would eventually cause power disruption. When the inevitable power outage occurred the property owners would refuse to allow power companies onto the property to repair the lines. This activity has caused major and extended blackouts and is one of the main reasons for the law.

Section 6 above specifically outlaws obstructive activities and Section 7 below provides power companies with the specific right to access the property and fix damaged power lines and equipment:
Prevention and Removal of Power Line Obstruction on Public Property or on Property Owned by Owner or Operator of Power Lines. – In cases where the power line corridor is wholly or partially located within public property or on property owned by the owner or operator of the power lines, the owner or operator of power lines shall have the right to enter the said property to prevent and remove any power line obstruction, and in particular, perform the following acts:

(a) To conduct maintenance and inspection activities within the power line corridor;

(c) To conduct trimming, pruning, cutting, or clearing activities for tall growing plants within the power line corridor without securing prior clearance or permit from, but with due notice to, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) in the case of coconut trees, the concerned local government units (LGUs), and other relevant government agencies;
Section 8 states that the property owner has a responsibility to prevent power line obstructions and to enlist the assistance of the power company when necessary to prevent or clear obstructions. It also gives the power company the unilateral right to do so: 
Prevention and Removal of Power Line Obstruction on Private Property. – The owner or operator of power lines shall have the primary duty and responsibility to remove power line obstructions. In cases where the power line corridor is wholly or partially located within a private property, the property owner shall coordinate and assist the owner or operator of the power lines by facilitating the necessary access in order to perform the acts enumerated in Section 7.

The property owner shall have the primary duty and responsibility to prevent power line obstructions and to inform the owner or operator of the power line of their existence. In the performance of these acts, the property owner shall be entitled to necessary assistance such as, but not limited to, education and information, and technical and manpower support from the owner or operator of power lines.

In the event that the property owner fails to perform any duty and responsibility under the preceding paragraphs, the owner or operator of the power lines shall have the right to access the power line corridor in order to undertake the acts enumerated under Section 7: Provided, That the entry to private property may only be effected after due notice to, and proper coordination with the property owner: Provided, however, That the foregoing shall no longer be required to avert an imminent danger posed by a power line obstruction in accordance with Article 432 of the Civil Code.
Earlier this year (2019) we were told by our local power co-op that it was the property owner's responsibility to clear trees that obstruct the service drop. Section 8 above appears to place this obligation jointly upon the property owner and the power company: "the property owner shall be entitled to necessary assistance such as, but not limited to... technical and manpower support from the owner or operator of power lines". 

Section 9 provides for government and police assistance for power companies to accomplish their necessary tasks in clearing power obstructions:
Assistance from Local Government Units, Philippine National Police, and Armed Forces of the Philippines. - In the performance of the acts under Sections 7 and 8, the owner or operator of the power lines may seek the assistance of LGU officials, the Philippine National Police (PNP), or the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP): Provided, That the LGU officials, the PNP, or the AFP shall render such assistance, as may be deemed necessary.
Section 12 removes legal consequences of cutting and removing all types of trees and other forest products in the course of complying with RA 11361:
Gathering, Collecting, Removing, and Transporting of Timber, Forest Products, and Coconut Lumber. - Gathering, collecting, removing, and transporting of timber, forest products, and coconut lumber as a result of acts performed under Sections 7 and 8 shall not be considered illegal acts: Provided, That due notice is given to the DENR, and the PCA in the case of coconut lumber, and other relevant government agencies.
The phrase "due notice" indicates that the above paragraph is not carte blanche. In a non-emergency situation it would seem that there is not much excuse for not getting the go-ahead from DENR and or PCA.

Section 15 describes penalties for violations of RA 11361:
Penalties. - Without prejudice to civil and administrative liability, the following penalties shall be imposed upon any person, both natural and juridical, found guilty of committing any of the prohibited acts specified in Section 6 of this Act:

(a) First Offense – the penalty of arresto mayor or a fine of Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00), or both, at the discretion of the court;
 

(b) Second Offense – the penalty of prision correccional or a fine of One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00), or both, at the discretion of the court; and
 

(c) Third Offense – the penalty of prision mayor or a fine of Two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00), or both, at the discretion of the court.
If the offenses are committed by or in conspiracy with an officer or employee of the owner or operator of the power line, such officer or employee shall suffer a penalty one (1)degree higher than the penalty provided herein.
The local building official who issued a building permit in violation of Section 14 of this Act shall be meted a penalty one (1) degree higher than the penalty provided herein and shall forthwith suffer the penalty of dismissal.

Can You Pick The Fruit Of Overhanging Branches?


This information is again only my opinion, as a layperson. This is not legal advice. 

It appears to me that the law answers the fruit question through Article 415, Paragraph 2 of REPUBLIC ACT NO. 386 THE CIVIL CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES
Immovable Property: Trees, plants, and growing fruits, while they are attached to the land or form an integral part of an immovable;
From the above statement it is my opinion that you cannot pick the fruit in that, while it is attached to the tree it remains as the immovable property of your neighbor. If the fruit falls on its own, then it is no longer growing, no longer attached and no longer an integral part of an immovable and therefore it becomes the property of the owner of the land upon which it falls. This seems to be a reasonable interpretation, however, I am not an attorney so you should talk with one of those about this.

That said, if you have a good relationship with your neighbor, then they will probably not mind you picking fruit from overhanging branches (ask first). However, if you do not have a good relationship, then it will be one more reason for bad blood between you.

And before I close this section I would like to add that this illustrates the reason why branches and roots are treated differently by the law: you can cut roots, but not branches. The roots encroach the land, whereas the branch, so long as it remains attached to the tree is considered to be non-encroaching and you cannot cut it. So this begs the question: what if a branch is bending down so far that it touches the ground? That's why God made attorneys...to answer such questions.

The Bottom Line


Talk to your local DENR so that you can know the specifics. Before you do anything or ask anyone else to touch any plant or tree make an appointment to speak with DENR-CENRO where you live. Make certain that you have all required permits from the appropriate and applicable agencies. 

It is best to hire an experienced local to do your tree cutting. If they use a chainsaw, ask to see their chainsaw license and make a copy of it. If they do not have a license for their chainsaw FIND SOMEONE ELSE to do the work. The person you hire should sign a contract with a clause in it that they follow all applicable laws.

Do not get caught transporting lumber without a receipt. If you bought it from an individual instead of a business, then you better be certain they had a permit and I would get a copy of that permit in addition to a receipt. If you get caught carrying lumber that was cut with no permit you will be in big trouble.

If you are an expat and you are looking for a place to live with your Filipino spouse, then consider the trees that are growing on the property and those that are growing on properties adjoining it. Will the trees growing on that property have to be removed for construction? Will the trees ever be a threat to neighboring properties, power lines or a public street? Will the trees on an adjoining property become a threat to your power line, buildings or anything else on the land that you are thinking about buying?

In some cases the trees do not come with the property when you buy it and must be purchased separately. Trees and other vegetation might actually be owned by a third party. The owner may not want to sell them just yet or ever. If trees are or may become a big issue, then maybe it is best to look for another property. Maybe it would be better to get a condo in the city. Perhaps it might be a good idea to rent. It's up to you and your situation. Good luck with your decision.

The main point to understand and take away from this post is that trees are a very important constituent of the ancient cultural heritage of the Philippines. The roots of the trees go deeply into the roots of the people and the nation.

When you come to live in the Philippines remember to take care how you treat the trees.

A great resource that details scores of Philippine trees and their uses can be found at malatumbaga.com.

If any of the links above for supporting documents are dead, then you may be able to locate the document that you want on our Documents Page.

21 comments:

P.J. said...

Our neighbor cut down our tree. What can be done about that?

Anonymous said...

Be nice. Be diplomatic. Don't escalate.

PhilippineDestiny said...

Thank you for visiting. Happy that you found the site useful.

Anonymous said...

Our HOA cut our tree without permission. Our tree does not harm nor destroy anything as it grow. The reason is some people taking shade under it and the neighbor doesn't like it and looks like they are bribe. There are far more bigger trees in our street subdivision that is hazardous to electric poll and street but they did not cut those trees.

Anonymous said...

This is the IRR for RA 9904 - has to do with HOAs:

http://hlurb.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/IRR/IRR_RA_9904.pdf

Don't know if it helps.

Lots of people in US with tales of woe about their HOA.

It is always possible to make a situation worse, so tread carefully.

springwater said...

It seems reasonable that someone cutting a tree from private property is theft, if the tree was wanted and the owner takes issue. But not from your own property.

Anonymous said...

Springwater, let me give some cases contrary to that.

We bought a property. We later wanted to use certain trees on it. We had to pay the person who had planted them (the previous owner).

Years after we had purchased that same property the previous owner cut down several trees and used them for construction.

Now this is a special case. The previous owner was family and this situation of the trees being separate from the land was explained to me before buying.

But another situation came up later where we needed to cut down certain trees and they belonged to a third party. That became complicated. We did get them cut down, but not without trouble.

Another case involves government and that is what your statement seems to be getting at. It might seem reasonable that cutting a tree from your own property would not be theft. But this is based upon the assumption that you actually own the property with no encumbrance. The truth is that you are a tenant and the state owns the property. The state allows you to maintain stewardship, but the state is the actual owner of the land. Agrarian Reform is a graphic example of this reality through its redistribution of private private lands.

Eminent domain of the state over private lands is the blade swinging overhead that few land owners ever notice.

The truth is that you never completely own land. You might be lulled into a state of false security because the state is lax where you are and has not set its eyes on what you think is yours. But that can change in the blink of an eye.

Silvestre Muntz said...

"Nothing you read here is to be taken as legal advice or professional guidance. This is our personal experience that we are sharing with you."

There is no "legal advice" here.

If you want "legal advice" you need to talk to a lawyer.

Please do not request "legal advice" from people who are not licensed attorneys.

It is a violation of the law for them to provide that to you.

It is ok for people to talk about there experiences and share their opinions prefaced as opinions, such as is done in this article.

you know it's true said...

Many people act like they do not care if their trees fall on their neighbors and if it ever happens they will argue that the neighbor provoked the tree.

Anonymous said...

We have some trees in our back yard that are all close to the property line because the lots are kind of small. The trunks are maybe 8 feet away, but if we let the limbs grow out they would drop a lot of trash in our neighbor's yard. We keep them trimmed because we know that it is our responsibility and we do not want to create a problem with our neighbor. If your trees are affecting your neighbor you know it. If you watch it happening for months and years and you do nothing it seems like you are really mean. That's just my thoughts.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

My neighbors always cut our plants without our permissions. For almost ten years he always do this.

Unknown said...

Does the captain of the barangay has the authority to cut down trees without prior notice to the land owner because of the urgent road widening on the agricultural land?

Anonymous said...

Who knows what they have the power to do. Depends on who delegated them power. Maybe they are just blowing hot air. Maybe not.
The Barangay is supposedly required to have stakeholder meetings where everyone is told what is happening and how they will all be affected.

Talk to DENR.
Talk to PCA if they are coconut trees.
Hire and attorney.
Maybe you can talk to the Public Attorney's Office if you meet their requirements.
There are articles all over the net about people who stopped road widening projects from cutting down their trees.

https://rappler.com/nation/court-case-saves-trees-road-widening-project-naga-city
https://www.vsu.edu.ph/articles/news/1567-dpwh-road-widening-save-the-trees-vsu-campus
https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1005482

But I will tell you that the most tarded thing I see it a tree in the middle of the road and I see it a lot. Power poles too.

Unknown said...

If ever the people didn't know that the tree is Native. The person will be prison because he|she cut there own trees to build a house. Need to ask a permission to the barangay or DENR that the trees can be use in a house.. di naman yon Ibenta ...

prettywahine said...

I am having the same problem with a neighbor who planted mahogany a few feet away from my concrete fence and even the baranggay captain said he has no power to do anything (he is related to the owner). I contacted the owner about the trees while it was just seedlings but to no avail. Now the trees are higher than my fence and will obviously cause problems on my property.

Anonymous said...

Hi I need you HELP. We have acacia tree inside our land or property and we would like to use the property now. We already cut the half of the trees (no more leaves) but the trunk is still there. Can I still process or can I still get permit to cut the tree even if we already cut the half of it?

Anonymous said...

Can I still get or request for a permit to cut tree even if we already cut the half of it? Or it is too late? I scared . I din’t know that it is complicated to cut trees inside my property

Anonymous said...

look and learn, people

Unknown said...

Our trees planted inside our fence.but their was a new land owner and we choose to move out . Can we cut the trees?

Philippine Destiny said...

I'm sure the landlord will love his beautiful new stumps LOL