Source: Manila Bulletin
MANILA, Philippines — When hundreds of logs that washed down the mountains killed scores of people and smashed houses in Northern Mindanao at the height of Typhoon “Sendong” on December 17, many blamed the forest denudation in Lanao del Sur.
But residents of Lanao del Sur questioned why blame is being heaped on the province.
‘Sendong’ was a tropical storm, a natural disaster. Whatever came its way would have been washed away, be they houses, cars, or even trees. How come it is being blamed on us?” Lanao del Sur-based engineer Papilawan O. Naga, an environmental activist for over 20 years, said.
Naga and other Maranao leaders met the media in Cagayan de Oro City Friday to voice out their sentiments.
The press conference was called to refute the claims of local government executives of Cagayan de Oro City, particularly Mayor Vicente Emano, and Iligan City Mayor Lawrence Cruz, including national officials and some members of the media.
Naga rejected the claims that the logs that smashed into Iligan came from Kapai, Lanao del Sur.
“It may be true that the logs were cut illegally from Lanao, but it is possible and it is our claim that prior to December 16, 2011, the logs were already stockpiled in Iligan City. We challenge anybody to present evidence that Lanao is to be blamed for the destruction brought by ‘Sendong,’ he said.
Moro youth leader Drieza Lininding said Emano should instead blame plantation, mining, and logging companies for ‘Sendong’s’ devastation.
Drieza wondered why the government has not filed any case against a big logging company which has been cutting trees in Kapai and Tagoloan II since 1975.