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Name ‘illegal’ loggers in CDO, Iligan DENR dared

MANILA, Dec. 28, 2011—The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) has challenged the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to name the alleged “illegal” loggers that are behind the Cagayan de Oro-Iligan tragedy.

In a statement, Pamalakaya chair Fernando Hicap said that the Government should run against these environmental plunderers and file necessary charges against them as what happened to the aforementioned cities can be considered a heinous crime.

The massive flooding and the logs that went with it had killed around 1,500 people and had 2,000 others missing. Billions of pesos worth of crops and properties were also damaged by the floods caused by heavy rains brought by typhoon “Sendong” (International Code: Washi).

Hicap said aside from illegal loggers, the government, primarily, should put the blame to corporate logging, farming and mining firms that are continuously denuding Philippine forests. Hicap also told Environment Secretary Ramon Paje to name the “coddlers” or patrons of these corporations in the government and also have them charged with appropriate cases.

The fisherfolk leader also urged the DENR to cancel the logging permits in the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in order to prevent more catastrophes in the area.

"President Aquino by all means, should cancel the Integrated Forest Management Agreement (IFMA) given to Vicmar Development Corporation currently operating in 3,340 hectares of forest lands in Lanao Del Sur and to Southwoods Timber Corporation which covered 11,476 hectares of forest lands in Misamis Oriental," Hicap said.

Hicap also revealed that there are about 6 IFMA contracts in Northern Mindanao which cover a total of 55,578 hectares and most of these logging sites are found more than 100 kilometers from the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan.

Nonetheless, Hicap also urged the government to cancel the permit of Dole Philippines, a huge fruit plantation that has reclaimed 2,000 hectares of land in the Upper Pulangi Watershed in Cagayan de Oro City. [Noel Sales Barcelona/CBCPNews]