The deaths of thousands and the destruction of people prompted the government to investigate why such a “weak storm” had caused massive destruction on the lives and properties of the people. Task force Sendong was created to investigate the presence of thousands of cut logs along the shores of Iligan city. These logs have caused the killing of many people and destroyed thousands of houses and properties during the flashflood. These logs are traced to come from a Makati based logging company in Manila. Now government officials are starting to pin point on who is to be held responsible to this incident. Whose term and whose administration allowed the logging operations of logging companies.
Philippines according to the 1995 Philippine Forestry Statistics comprise a land area of 30 million ha., wherein 53% is a forest land. Forestry had played a vital role in the socio economic development of the country but due to deforestation in late 1980s, it had depleted. The increasing deforestation in the Philippines was attributed to the ineffectiveness of our forest laws and its enforcements. No wonder why a Makati based Logging Company operating in the Lanao del Sur Province after the total log ban declaration, was still able to operate clandestinely and openly and there is not only a single Logging company that operates in the Philippines, in Mindanao-there are numbers of them not including yet the foreign companies applying for Mining in the Philippines, particularly in Mindanao.
The issue of logging in the Lanao provinces can never be an isolated case, in fact almost all provinces in Mindanao have logging operations and Mining operations. To name a few, almost the entire area of CARAGA province have logging operations and even open pit mining operations, in Zamboanga Peninsula wherein mining companies have started drilling holes in the Ancestral Lands of the Indigenous Peoples. In Mt. Diwata, Compostela Valley which a number of Mining operations for gold recently has a landslide which killed more than 20 people and about 100 were still missing. The incident in Compostela was just few weeks after the incident in Iligan City and Cagayan de Oro City. Another tragedy that happened while Iligan and Cagayan de Oro City were still in the process of rehabilitations. Moreover, this government has encouraged foreign investors through the Public-Private partnership program, to invest in the Philippines and most of these investments evolved around mining, crop conversions, and land conversions.
The wrath of nature is its own way of crying as she had been continuously murdered. And the deaths of thousands of people can never be just considered as part of the collateral damage-it is murder. It is murder perpetrated by national and multi-national companies backed up by government line agencies through its policies. They have murdered our environment; they have murdered our people and they will continue to murder our future unless we the people of Mindanao and other parts of the country should act upon this by exposing the rotten system that brought catastrophe on the lives of the majority poor victims. We didn’t cut trees and yet we have paid the price. Thousands of lives had been taken away by our negligence, how many more?
January 6, 2012.
Iligan City, Mindanao