Aug 10, 2011

Moro: Loggers Blamed For Dwindling Mindanao Forests

Philippine and international logging companies reap in profits by destroying sacred lands and leaving the Moro people vulnerable to strong winds, flashfloods and landslides.

Below is an article published by the Moro Chronicles

The forest cover of Mindanao has dwindled to just six percent and loggers mostly from Manila and the Visayas were responsible for this crime against the environment.

“They raped our forests and destroyed the natural environment which is sacred to our people,” said one Higaonon tribal chief from Valencia, Bukidnon.

The report said that even the remotest areas traditionally domiciled by indigenous peoples are also invaded by loggers. Among the currently being denuded by loggers are Diwata Mountain Range in southern Mindanao; Kalatungan-Kitanglad Mountain Range in northern Mindanao; and mountain forests in the provinces of Compostela Valley, South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat and Zamboanga del Norte where Subanen tribesmen are also fighting mining operations in their ancestral domain.

Some of the big names in the logging industry in Mindanao, who reaped in billions of pesos from the logging industry, include the Magsaysays, Sarmientos, Dela Rosas, Antoninos, and Consunjis. The people of Mindanao, on the other hand, are reaping in strong winds, flashfloods, and landslides.

“They don’t care about us; they enjoy their lives while we suffer. They carted away our logs, gold, copper, and silver while we wallow in poverty.”

This was the statement of Datu Antonio Kinoc, alternate member of the MILF peace panel, in reaction to the vast deforestation of Mindanao due to the unscrupulous activities of these loggers.

Kinoc, however, told that the sides effects of the lucrative but immoral logging activities are pale compared to the devastation wrought in by the mining companies.

“My relatives in Columbio, Sultan Kudarat are not only displaced but bludgeoned to death by the toxic waste spread by the mining operation of an Australian firm in alliance with the Alcantaras and Dominguezes of Davao City,” he added.

“Why are big loggers continuing to operate in Mindanao when the government had banned practically all logging operations in Mindanao for more than decade already?” he asked.

“This means,” he answered his own question, “the government is fooling the people.”