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Green group praises Aquino’s logging ban
But warns graft could still threaten deforestation in PhilippinesPresident Benigno Aquino III inspects a newly opened water treatment plant in Metro Manila (Photo courtesy of MalacaÃ±ang)
- ucanews.com staff, Manila
- February 4, 2011
âWe welcome [the order] which we hope, if genuinely implemented, will stop large commercial logging operations and slow down deforestation,â said Clemente Bautista, coordinator of KalikasanÂ or the Peopleâs Network for the Environment.
Aquino had been under mounting pressure from environmentalists and the Church to implement a ban on logging and open-pit mining.
âWe expect the government to cancel permits and stop the operations of large scale loggers in natural and residual forests,â Bautista said.
Aquinoâs presidential order titled âDeclaring a Moratorium on the Cutting and Harvesting of Timber in the National and Residual Forests and Creating the Anti-Illegal Logging Task Forceâ fulfilled his promise to victims of recent floods and landslides in several parts of the country.
âIt is our obligation to take care of our natural resources. It is our obligation to ensure the safety of our citizens from the effects of La NiÃ±a or El NiÃ±o or any disaster,â Aquino said.
He yesterday ordered the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to review all existing logging agreements and stop logging companies from cutting trees.
Bautista, however, warned the order does not address another major factor in deforestation -- corruption.
âIt still allows logging in âplantationsâ or areas where trees were planted by commercial loggers. These can be used, exploited and encourage commercial loggers to continue their tree cutting activities,â he said.
Call to end mining, logging mounts
Church groups praised for anti-logging drive
Tribal children in the Philippines haul logs