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Church groups praised for anti-logging drive

Philippines government to ensure poor benefit from seized logs

Church groups praised for anti-logging drive
President Benigno Aquino III holds up a photograph of seized logs during his visit to Agusan del Norte province
Ben Serrano and staff, Butuan City

January 18, 2011

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The Philippines environment and natural resources ministry has praised the efforts of Catholic-based groups in the southern Caraga region in the fight against illegal logging. “We are very grateful for the assistance extended to us by Butuan Bishop Juan De Dios Pueblos and Indigenous People’s Apostolate Father Lito Clase, for without them our campaign in the region would not have been successful,” said Renato Miranda of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). The DENR seized about P60 million (US$1.3 million) worth of illegally cut logs in Caraga last week, said Miranda, a former marine general. President Benigno Aquino III visited Butuan City Friday to personally assess the extent of the damage caused by flash floods and landslides in the area. Aquino blames wanton deforestation as the cause of the tragedy that killed 23 people and damaged roads, bridges, schools and irrigation canals. He said he will issue an executive order against illegal logging later this week. “We are happy that this is coming from the president, not from any other person,” said Bishop Pueblo. The seized logs will be sold and the money given to the poor, he said. “The money will go to them in the form of food-for-work or any way the government sees fit.” Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales said Filipinos must protect their remaining natural resources. “We should respect God’s creation,” he said. He said he supports a total ban on logging for one to two years. “The forests can be replenished in that time and will be enough to prevent landslides and other calamities,” he said. Related reports Tribal children in the Philippines haul logs Child loggers can expect no Christmas break Bishop revives anti-logging campaign PM12894.1637
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