Group urges Sierra Madre electorates to reject protectors of big loggers

By Pepsi La Loma

Manila, Philippines- The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Friday urged voters encompassed by the Sierra Madre range to reject politicians running in the May 2010 elections who have tie ups with big time logging syndicates.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap issued the statement a day after concerned groups and local government officials confirmed the sudden increased logging activities in Sierra Madre which were tied to the May 2010 elections.

“The Sierra Madre vote must punish those behind the unbridled large-scale logging adventures in Quezon and nearby provinces such as Rizal and Aurora provinces. We ask the vigilant citizenry to name these politicians and let them suffer the biggest electoral humiliation in their entire political career,” the Pamalakaya leader said in a press statement.

Hicap said it is time to name these big logging syndicates supporting the candidacy of powerful politicians in South and North Quezon, as he appealed to concerned groups and environmental activists to disclose which among these companies are operating and who their backers are.

Pamalakaya agreed with observations raised by opposition groups that the renewed large-scale logging activities in Quezon and in the entire Sierra Madre had something to do with elections. “Aside from jueteng money, the next best source of campaign funds in Quezon is the gang of big time loggers in the province,” the group said.

“The aggressive hunt for electoral campaign funds is the main reason why big time loggers are back in business even though there is an existing total log ban in Sierra Madre. The total log ban is nothing but a toothless tiger and was merely declared for public image building for Malacanang,” the group said.

The militant group also assailed DENR secretary Eleazar Quinto for not doing his job in stopping big time logging groups in Sierra Madre. Pamalakaya said the newly installed environment chief, being former chief for field operations of DENR before assuming the top environment post, was well informed about the large-scale logging activities of private groups in Sierra Madre.

“Quinto is just a figurehead in DENR, so he does not have the balls to confront these all-time, prime time logging syndicates in Sierra Madre,” said Pamalakaya #

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