Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Logging and Mining Caused the Floods in CARAGA

Logging and Mining Caused the Floods in CARAGA

Maria Malaya
NDF-Amihanan Sidlakang Mindanao (Northeastern Mindanao)
February 17, 2006

The decades of large-scale logging and mining in the whole of Caraga region has taken its toll. For the past couple of years Caraga region, specifically the cities of Butuan and Surigao and the province of Surigao Sur, has been flooded during the monsoon rains and storms. Just recently, 4 died in Butuan, while Surigao Sur reported 1 death by drowning due to the flashfloods last February 7-11. Thousands were forced to go to evacuation centers in Butuan and Surigao Cities. Butuan City and acres of rice paddies were submerged under water, crops and houses destroyed. Late last year, Butuan and Surigao Cities also reported deaths by drowning and thousands were rendered homeless because of the flashfloods in December.

Adding to this, the roads leading to and coming from Tandag to San Francisco and Surigao City has been many times rendered impassable because of landslides, destruction of wooden bridges and deep muddy roads. Transportation stopped for almost two days in the whole of Caraga because of the floods and the impassable roads. The economy of the region further deteriorated.

The flashfloods that caused destruction to livelihood and homes are results of large-scale resource extraction of logs and mineral resources in the region and the wanton disregard to environmental protection in the name of profits. Presidents and administrations past and present has sold the forest resources of Caraga to multi-national, transnational and local companies without a thought to its adverse effects. More so with the present Arroyo regime. Instead of heeding the cries of the people, the US Arroyo regime has instead pushed for the implementation of the Mining Act of 1995, sponsored mining conferences for foreign capitalists and protected operating companies in the face of the cases of violations filed against it. In Caraga, the violation cases of PICOP, SUDECOR and Artimco in Surigao del Sur and Agusan del Sur among many others has been covered up with no less than Butch Pichay, Arroyo's hatchetman and Surigao Sur District I congressman, interceding in behalf of these companies.

In Surigao del Norte, the numerous mining companies like Manila Mining, Placer Dome and Tag-anito Mining among others, and the Arroyo government's failure to reign in its massive mining activities are to be blamed for the flashfloods, landslides and siltation. The decade old large-scale logging in Butuan City has rendered its mountains bare and flashfloods happen at the mere drop of monsoon rains.

Adding insult to injury, the US-Arroyo regime have not been doing enough to provide assistance to flood victims and repair the roads destroyed. The local provincial governments has not been given assisstance for these as the national coffers where majority of the taxes go, has been looted by Arroyo and her lackeys.

The US-Arroyo regime in its disregard to the plight of the people and its putting the interests of large-scale resource extraction companies above all else should answer for the loss of lives and property in Caraga and the whole of the country. Such regime should be ended.

The revolutionary movement in Caraga calls on all the people to unite against the destructive large scale logging and mining promoted by the US-Arroyo regime. The platoons and guerilla fronts of the NPA under the Pulang Diwata Command in Caraga will continue to defend the environment. The committees and organs of the Communist Party of the Philippines in the NorthEastern Mindanao Region will ensure the total implementation of policies on the defense of the environment, especially against logging and mining abuses.

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