Greenpeace denounces DENR on resumption of Aurora logging

Press release - September 2, 2005
Greenpeace today denounced the recent report that the DENR has allowed the resumption of logging operations in Aurora Province, stating that lifting the order on the logging operations in a recently devastated area like Aurora Province at the start of the typhoon season is “downright callous and short-sighted.”

"The government must think that Filipinos have short memories," said Von Hernandez, Campaign Director, Greenpeace Southeast Asia. "Instead of preserving what is left of our country's decimated forests, the DENR,  with its weak forest law enforcement program, has once again failed to protect our natural resources. This shows the administration's lack of genuine concern for the environment and its vague short-sighted vision for national development."

Last August 17, the DENR lifted the suspension order on the timber harvesting operations in Aurora Province of the Industries Development  Corporation under its Integrated Forest Management Agreements (IFMA), covering a total of 58,343 hectares.

Forests are the only effective barriers against strong winds, rains, and landslides during typhoons. Continuous logging-both legal and illegal-severely compromises the natural carrying capacity of the forests to provide protection from natural calamities. Citing

statistics, Greenpeace said that an average of 500 lives is lost every year due to the 17 to 22 typhoons that pass through the country annually. This figure more than doubled in the November-December 2004 floods and landslides. Ten times that number perished in the Ormoc  Tragedy, which also occurred in the month of November, in 1991. These

numbers and other "devastation" statistics, such as damage to property and infrastructure will increase as the frequency and strength of typhoons increase.

"Clearly, the government cannot justify the resumption of logging  operations as a positive step towards economic development. The purported revenues from logging and logging trade cannot compensate for the long-term devastation of the environment which sustains life," Mr. Hernandez explained.

"Tsunamis from the mountains" remain a constant threat to the 20 million Filipinos living in and around the mountains. Greenpeace warned that while logging continues, the Ormoc and Aurora tragedies will not be the last of their kind. "As a crucial first step to reverse the vicious cycle of destruction and calamity, the government must protect what is left of the country's forests by implementing a nationwide total log ban immediately."

Other contacts: For more information, please contact: Von Hernandez, Campaign Director, +63 917 526 3050 Lea Guerrero, Media Campaigner, +63 916 374 4969

Exp. contact date: 2006-02-02 00:00:00