Tag Archives: Sierra Madre

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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National inquiry on Ondoy tragedy sought

National inquiry on Ondoy tragedy sought

The militant alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Tuesday asked Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and House Speaker Prospero Nograles to immediately schedule a separate or joint national inquiry on the real causes behind the massive flood brought by storm Ondoy last Saturday that devastated the entire National Capital Region and the provinces of Rizal, Laguna, Quezon, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Bataan,Pampanga, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija and Aurora.

“Let’s have a national inquiry on the Ondoy tragedy. Let us determine the real score behind this corporate induced and government sanctioned national disaster that killed hundreds of people and which sent hundreds of thousands of people homeless and displaced,” said Pamalakaya Vice-Chairperson for Luzon Salvador France.

The Pamalakaya leader suggested that following government agencies and officials to be summoned either by the joint congressional inquiry or separate congressional inquiry if Enrile and Nograles decide to push through with the probe on Ondoy tragedy.

– DENR Secretary Joselito Atienza
– DND secretary and NDCC chair Gilbert Teodoro
– MMDA chair Bayani Fernando
– DILG Secretary Ronaldo Puno
– DPWH Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane Jr.
– PAGASA Director Prisco Nilo
– incumbent governors of Quezon, Aurora, Laguna, Rizal, Bulacan, Pampanga and Nueva Ecija.

Pamalakaya’s France said the 6 government officials should also take immediately a leave of absence in their respective officers or tender irrevocable resignations once the Senate and the House of Representatives begin their joint or separate inquiry.

The militant leader also said logging firms, quarrying companies and other business groups operating in Sierra Madre particularly in the provinces of Quezon, Aurora, Laguna, Rizal, Nueva Ecija and Bulacan should also be invited to shed light on the recent national calamity, which Pamalakaya said is destined to happen because of big business eternal thirst for super profits and government officials’ gluttony for fat kick backs and huge commissions.

Pamalakaya said what happened in the National Capital Region and nearby provinces in Southern and Central Luzon was directly connected and due to the all-out big time logging activities in Sierra Madre, which is supposed to be the backbone of Luzon.

“What is common to all these affected areas is that all these areas are enjoined and connected by the Sierra Madre mountain range. The present devastated state of Sierra Madre due to logging, quarrying and other forms of privatization and sell-out as promoted by the Macapagal-Arroyo government will cause more tragedy to the people,” the group said.

The National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) yesterday said death arising from typhoon Ondoy is now 240, and many of the victims drowned in the floods, while others were electrocuted or killed in landslides, the council said.

Thirty-seven people remained missing on Tuesday while five others were injured, according to the council. Ondoy affected 1.87 million of the country’s 92 million people, with 374,890 of them now sheltering in makeshift evacuation camps, it said. #

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Atienza’s Sierra Madre summit, a PR stint, says Pamalakaya

Atienza’s Sierra Madre summit, a PR stint, says Pamalakaya

Leftwing activists belonging to fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Tuesday said the Feb.4 Sierra Madre Summit to be hosted by Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Joselito Atienza is nothing but a publicity blitzkrieg.

“The Sierra Madre Summit escapade is in preparations for the former Manila Mayor’s comeback bid as politician whether as mayoralty candidate of Manila or senatorial candidate of the administration party in 2010 national elections,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.

Tomorrow, the DENR will convene all stakeholders of the Sierra Madre to resolve the issues and concerns confronting the country’s longest mountain ranges. In a statement, posted on DENR website, Atienza said the meeting will focus on how to strengthen the gains from collective efforts to protect Sierra Madre.

Pamalakaya’s Hicap said instead of attending the publicity stint of Secretary Atienza, stakeholders should pursue an all-out investigation on the continuing rape of Sierra Madre that would include former DENR Secretaries Angelo Reyes and Michael Defensor and incumbent secretary Atienza.

The fisherfolk leader said groups like Conservation International, World Wide Fund for Nature, Tanggol Kalikasan and Philippine Tropical Forest Conservation Foundation, together with church leaders and other civil society groups should demand a full-blown inquiry on the state of Sierra Madre by the Senate and the House Committees on environment and natural resources rather than subscribe to Atienza’s one-man show in DENR.

“It is about time to bring the issue of Sierra Madre out of the DENR’s political theater. DENR is the solution, it is part of the long-running problem and nightmare,” said Pamalakaya.

“As far as we are concerned the government in its so-called war against illegal logging was only running after small time loggers and consciously spared big time logging corporations from its’ campaign to punish logging corporations and big logging lords in Sierra Madre,” said Pamalakaya.

According to DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) Region IV director Nilo Tamoria, illegal loggers are taking advantage of a road project that runs along the slopes of the virgin forests to transport cut logs.

Tamoria said intelligence reports bared that illegal loggers were loading undocumented lumber, which they pass off as construction materials, in the Marikina-Infanta Road project. He said illegal loggers were forced to take the alternative route after the DENR, the military, and multisectoral groups cordoned off their usual route in Tanay town, Rizal province.

Meanwhile, Pamalakaya reiterated its call the immediate and unconditional resignation of DENR Secretary Joselito Atienza after a Church-based group environmental group in Quezon revealed that illegal logging activities are back in the province.

“Big time logging activities whether they are legal or illegal are back with a vengeance in Quezon province under the stewardship of Secretary Atienza in the name of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The Sierra Madre range will be fully denuded if Atienza and this regime of big time logging syndicates will continue to rule like immortal mass murderer of trees and forests,” the group said.

Pamalakaya said the national government and the DENR have yet to release official reports how they deal with six of the biggest logging corporations operating in Quezon and Aurora provinces, whose permits were approved by President Arroyo.

Pamalakaya was referring to logging corporations, which were previously not included in the “anti-logging campaign” of the government. The militant group said until now, no reports were made about the status of Green Circles Corp. (30,000 hectares in General Nakar), International Hardwood and Veneer Corporation (13,527 hectares in Mauban, Quezon), Timberland Forest Products (34,660 hectares in Gen. Nakar, Quezon), Industries Development Corp. (48,777 hectares in Aurora province), RCC Timber Co. (23,140 hectares in Aurora) and Top Lite Corp. (8,630 hectares in Aurora).

“Are they still operating in Sierra Madre? Nobody from Malacañang and the office of Secretary Atienza dared to answer this question,” the militant group said.

“ President Arroyo and her past environmental secretaries are criminally liable for the massive death and destruction in Aurora and Quezon provinces. The Office of the President and the DENR deserved public outrage and wholesale condemnation, nothing more, nothing less”, Pamalakaya said.

On January 2001, the government allowed International Hardwood and Veneer Corp. to operate on the 13,527 hectares of forest areas in Mauban, Quezon and on November 12, 2002, the national government through the DENR approved the logging operation of Timberland Forest Products covering 34, 660 hectares in General Nakar, Quezon.

Pamalakaya said President Arroyo also approved the application for logging operations of Industries Development Corp. and RCC Timber Corporation on December 5, 2001 covering Aurora province through the IFMA. The two logging companies were allowed to cover 48, 877 hectares and 23,140 hectares respectively.

On July 9, 2002, the DENR approved the logging permit of Top Lite Corp. also in Aurora, which covered 8,630 hectares. While ex-DENR secretary Elisea Gozun suspended the permit for quite sometime, but former environment secretary Michael Defensor overturned the decision and lifted the suspension. #

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