Environmentalists Demand a Stop to Commercial Logging Operations in Davao Oriental; Challenges Noynoy
Davao City --- Environmental rights network PANALIPDAN Davao Oriental Chapter demanded here today that commercial logging in Davao Oriental be permanently stopped and that PhilYoubang Mining Corporation, a Chineese Mining Firm, be penalized for its brazen logging operations in Brgy Macambol in Mati.
In a fact finding mission in Sitio Sopsopon, Brgy Macambol in Mati town last June 9, PANALIPDAN – Davao Oriental found out that Philippine Youbang Mining Corp. which has a mining permit to mine 1,000 has in Mati has also been doing extensive logging operations in the area.
Sr. Stella Matutina, osb, spokesperson of Panalipdan Davao Oriental said, “Philyoubang’s logging operations are destructive to the environment. Mostly, they cut Magkuno or iron wood, Banile and other premium species like Tangile. They cut century-old wood and completely uproot the whole tree including the stumps. From what was seen in their logdeck, more than 1000 cubic meters already have been cut and harvested by this company.”
The fact finding mission team also observed that Philyoubang’s operations has damaged second growth trees and other species in Sitio Sopsopon, Brgy Macambol which is located between two protected areas -- Pujada Bay Protected Seascape and Mt. Hamiguitan Range, a government – declared “wildlife sanctuary” based on Republic Act No. 9303 or the Mt. Hamiguitan Range and Wildlife Sanctuary Act.
PANALIPDAN hence fears that Philyoubangs logging and consequently, mining operations will cause severe damage to these sanctuaries and their resident species.
For instance, Mt. Hamiguitan hosts around four hundred (400) hectares of "pygmy forests", exotic plants and wild animals. Rattan, timber and non-timber products which are the sources of community livelihood is also abundant here.
Philyoubang claims to hold a Private Land Timber Permit which was awarded to it by the Regional office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). However, PANALIPDAN SMR insists that this permit should never have been given at all due to the critical location of Brgy Macambol.
For his part, Francis Morales of PANALIPDAN Southern Mindanao also lashed at the DENR for allowing and giving the company ‘s permit to mine the area.
“Along with the permit to mine the area, mining companies are also given timber rights. Its part of the whole destructive cycle of large scale mining. They have to shave off the mountains to be mined so this doubles their earnings,” said Morales.
He also added that, “ with this, the local communities are at the losing end all the time. They suffer from the loss of a valuable forest cover, and the extinction of animal species in their area while these plunderers earn from our timber and from the mineral resources.”
Morales said the DENR regional office is also accountable for the destruction caused by Philyoubang.
“The DENR has long known that there is massive illegal and commercial logging operations in Davao Oriental but it has no guts to stand up against the politicians, military and police coddling these companies or syndicates,” Morales said.
Amidst the continued exposes revealing wanton illegal commercial logging activities since early 1990’s in the province, doubts have always hounded the provincial and national government.
Still the people and the church’s vigilance against the massive logging in the gulf and east coast is unyielding.
The question and the challenge being hurled by PANALIPDAN and other environmental groups to the incoming President Noynoy Aquino is, will there ever be a sincere step towards protecting our resources and environment under his watch?
“We challenge Pres. Noynoy. He said he will eradicate corruption and one of the most lucrative businesses in the country is the plunderous activities like mining and logging. We demand that this be resolved as soon as possible lest we regret everything when we become the next to suffer from mudslides and landslides that killed thousands in Quezon or Ormoc,” said Morales.#
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