Duterte orders DENR to stop Zambo Norte logging

Breaking News • Tue Jan 9, 2018 12:06 AM  •  331   0
By Manny Pinol
  • Your Reaction:
  • Bida
  • Kontra Bida
  • Happy
  • Unhappy
President Duterte leads 2018 first cabinet meeting in Malacanang. At the backdrop is the video presentation of the destruction in Zambo del Norte due to logging. (Manny Pinol)
President Duterte leads 2018 first cabinet meeting in Malacanang. At the backdrop is the video presentation of the destruction in Zambo del Norte due to logging. (Manny Pinol)
MANILA - An angry President Rody Duterte tonight directed Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu to immediately issue a closure order on the logging operations of the SODACO Agricultural Corp. in the Zamboanga Peninsula.

Pres. Duterte issued the order to Sec. Cimatu following a report I made during the Cabinet meeting today which stretched from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. where I played a 5-minute video showing the destruction of the Zamboanga Mountain Range where SODACO is cutting down trees on the pretext of clearing the area for the planting of Oil Palm under the Integrated Social Forestry Program of the Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

SODACO, which holds a 60,000-hectare concession in the Zamboanga Mountain Range under ISF, is blamed for the flash floods and mudslides which killed dozens of people and damaged agricultural lands in four towns of Zamboanga del Norte Dec. 22 at the height of Typhoon Vinta.

The company, also known as DACON to residents of the towns of Sibuco, Sirawai, Siocon and Balinguian or Triple S/B, is believed owned by the super-rich Consunji Family.

“Roy, ipasara mo yan. Hindi naman maghihirap yan si Consunji kasi Oligarch na yan,” the President told the DENR Secretary during the Cabinet meeting today.

On Friday, Jan. 4, I led the team from the Dept. of Agriculture and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) which brought relief assistance to the isolated village of Anungan in Sibuco town where flash floods swept over 70 houses to the sea in the middle of the night on Dec. 22.

In Angungan alone, 40 people went missing but only 10 bodies were recovered. A young girl from the village was picked up by a fishing boat in the Sulu Sea and brought to Antique where she is now recuperating.

Sibuco Mayor Bong Adding and Sirawai Mayor Gamar Janihim who met up with our group in Anungan said that logs coming down from the mountains with the rampaging flood waters destroyed many homes in the coastal towns.

They blamed the logging operations of SODACO for the flash floods and mudslides which killed dozens in Zamboanga del Norte and destroyed thousands of hectares of rice farms which were covered with mud from overflowing rivers.

Together with Mayor Edding, I flew by helicopter piloted by Capt. Butch Israel over the logging concession area of SODACO and took video footage of the denuded mountains, logging roads, landslides and heavily silted rivers with brown-colored water.

I presented the video to President Duterte and the members of the Cabinet as the last agenda in the 8-hour-long meeting which also discussed other matters of national importance.

After watching the video and issuing the order for the stoppage of the logging operations, Pres. Duterte directed Sec. Cimatu to proceed to the area to implement the closure order.

Flash floods flattened communities in Sibuco, Zambo del Norte. (Photos from Manny P. FB page)
Image may contain 2 people people standing outdoor and nature
Logged area.
Image may contain mountain sky outdoor and nature
  • Your Reaction:
  • Bida
  • Kontra Bida
  • Happy
  • Unhappy