Solon wants DENR to run after illegal loggers

A lawmaker has called for a congressional inquiry into the failure of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to file charges and prosecute the people behind illegal logging that has resulted in massive flooding, killings thousands of Filipinos in Mindanao.

Rep. Winston Castelo (2nd District, Quezon City) filed House Resolution 2957 urging the House Committee on Natural Resources to invite the DENR officials, local government officials and non-governmental groups during the hearing to shed light on the matter.

Castelo said hundreds of people in Mindanao were crushed to death by logs that were brought down the mountains by floodwaters; a situation that immediately casts suspicion on whether there is a log ban policy being implemented.

“Violation of any existing logging policy, when flagrantly violated to the irreversible peril of those who become their fatal victims is tantamount to allowing criminal loggers the opportunity to wantonly rape our forests, reduce our mountains to ‘baldness’ and denude our forest,” Castelo said.

Castelo said some local government officials tend to pass blame on the victims who died from mudslides saying they were already warned to leave their residences but refused to do so.

“The logging companies operating in these areas are the culprits. The logs coming from the mountain crushed these people to death. Rather than running after illegal loggers, charging them, and keeping them in jail for the rest of their lives, the state seems powerless to touch these powerful people—these rapists of our forest,” Castelo said.

Castelo said until the government can put criminal loggers behind bars or it is able to effectively implement the log ban, more deaths and more victims will be counted since more trees and more logs will roll down from the mountains and nothing more will hold the rainwater.

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