pablo, logging, mining *updated*

the president has every reason to be apalled by the 1000+ deaths and still counting, 800+ still missing, and P15 billion damage to agriculture and property, not to speak of the despair and misery of the tens of thousands of homeless and hungry, in compostela valley and davao oriental, wrought by typhoon pablo.

Aquino, in a keynote speech during the change of command of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), stressed that preemptive measures should be in place whenever there are incoming typhoons to avoid lost of lives and tremendous damage to properties.

“If there is a need to double our warnings; if there is a need to triple our preparations; if we need to evacuate them one week before massive rains and flooding bring havoc to the people, we will do all of these because it is our duty to save lives to the best of our ability,” he said.

The President said he was appalled by the devastation in New Bataan, Compostela Valley, and Boston, Davao Oriental, both in southern Philippines, during his visit there last week.

senator loren legarda likewise harps on the need for preparedness.

“These would have been avoided if our local government units and all our citizens had knowledge of geohazard maps,” the senator said during the briefing called by the Senate Committee on Climate Change on the use and implementation of the geohazard maps.

She said that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources “should not only distribute these maps, but also, and more importantly, educate LGUs on how to read the map and how it will help them in their disaster risk reduction and management efforts.”

“Am I living in a landslide area? Am I living in a flood-prone area? Filipinos in every barangay in the country need to know this information long before any typhoon signals are raised. Coupled with early warning signals at least seven days before any typhoon arrives, we should be able to radically minimize the casualties,” Legarda said.

hmm.  so the solution is to evacuate threatened communities early enough, at least a week before an imminent typhoon. never mind if  that the typhoon could suddenly change course, better safe than sorry.  of course there would have to be properly provisioned evacuation centers that would have to be located on certifiably safe ground or there would be no point to the exercise.  the logistics would be major, the costs considerable, but such is life, or rather, such is the price we pay for an environment degraded eroded raped over the decades (up to the present) by government’s capitalist cronies administration after administration.

not surprisingly, there is no talk of calling for an absolute stop to all logging and mining activities that are mainly to blame for the ecological decay that bring deadly floods and killer landslides during heavy rains.

“The heartbreaking reports of deaths and destruction in New Bataan, Compostela Valley and several Davao Oriental towns and elsewhere show how Mindanao’s environment has reached its maximum limit,” Sr. Stella Matutina, OSB, Panalipdan Mindanao secretary-general, said in a statement.

The group said President Benigno Aquino III’s visit last Friday to disaster-stricken areas “should compel him to stop large-scale mining and other extractive industries that caused the tragedy.”

… She cited a report made by Panalipdan Southern Mindanao that both provinces are swamped with many large-scale mining and logging companies, with Davao Oriental accounting for 31 mining tenements, application and operations while Compostela Valley has 43.

googled and found this: MINING TENEMENTS STATISTICS REPORT AS OF JANUARY ‘2012, Region XI, obviously an incomplete list if sr. stella’s figures are correct.

last year in the wake of sendong, the president was not receptive to talk vs. logging and mining.

Asked about the need to seriously look into illegal mining and illegal logging and amending the existing laws, the President said the rights of businesses must be respected.

He said logging concessionaires have the right to harvest the trees that they planted and the government can’t easily stop their operations.

i wouldn’t be surprised if, like other presidents before him, the prez would rather leave it to the next admin to make the major changes in policies, specifically, a shift from logging and mining to the reforestation and rehabilitation of our denuded and damaged highlands and watersheds.  the prayer now probably is that ondoy, sendong, and pablo were freak disasters, and maybe the streak is over, the next typhoons will be kinder.

otherwise, the environment is an urgent agenda waiting for a president to happen. a president who would see that there is nothing sustainable about the mining and wood industries that have done, and continue to do, so much damage to our lands and waters.  surely there are alternative development strategies that are not so destructive of our island ecologies and that do not enrich a few at the expense of the many.


Crisis in the aftermath of ‘Pablo’
Not learning from Sendong and Pablo
How Aquino log ban was ignored 
Aquino’s Log Ban Plan Flawed, Say Environmentalists
Storms more deadly as Philippines gets hotter 
Disasters and the poor 
Mindanao lumad, green groups blame Aquino’s mining policies for devastation wreaked by typhoon Pablo
Confirmed: Deforestation Plays Critical Climate Change Role 
Mining, logging contributed to RP disaster — experts 
AFTER MARCOPPER The Canadian quandary


  1. manuelbuencamino

    I’m surprised DENR Sec Paje is getting a free pass on this I have not read or seen media asking for his head. Nasaan ang mga watchdogs na ‘yan? Ni walang mga retrato ng mga cut logs na wumasak sa mga communities, Ni walang masyadong analysis kung ano ginawa ng small scale mining sa slopes. Magaling ang pr ni Paje sa media.

    • oo nga, deafening ang silence ng media. esp. re large-scale mining operations. if anything, reports are abt small-scale mining lang. even lacierda, who promised investigation of small-scale lang. … ano kaya, the media silence is on-orders from on-high, as in vested interests kasi?