Senator Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, today urged the government to certify as urgent Senate bill calling for total log ban in the country. Zubiri made this call following President Noynoy Aquino’s statement that he is considering the imposition of total log ban throughout the country.
“I fully support the President’s tough stand against massive logging operations. It’s about time. The magnitude of disaster is alarming. We have seen this recently in Australia, Brazil and even here at home in Albay. We have to be tough in ensuring the protection of our environment and we have to do it now,” Zubiri said.
Zubiri has long been advocating for a total log ban. He pushed for the same legislative measure when he was a congressman of Bukidnon’s third district in 1998. In Senate Bill 2172 which he filed as early as July 2010, Zubiri proposed a 35-year moratorium on all logging operations in the country except for commercially planted trees for commercial and/or industrial purposes provided that such trees are not located in primary and secondary forests or rainforests.
“Various studies and first-hand experiences have taught us time and again that the continuous exploitation of the finite resources of our forests due to intensified logging activities result in catastrophic flashfloods.
Examples of such catastrophes are the Ormoc, Mindoro, Davao and Quezon tragedies, and just recently in Albay which claimed 25 lives and the number of displaced families has already ballooned to 88,053 or 452,999 people according to the NDRRMC,” Zubiri warned further noting that the absence of complete and reliable data from the Forest Management Bureau of the DENR has hampered the Senate committee work on the bills related to massive logging operations.
“The Senate environment committee has conducted an inquiry on the suspension of logging operations last year but the absence of accurate and reliable data from DENR is slowing down our work, nevertheless, we need to start making progress and resume the hearing at the committee level at the soonest possible time,” Zubiri said.
Several bills had been filed in Congress seeking the imposition of total log ban ranging from 25 to 35 years.
“We need to allow our forests to regenerate and stop their countdown to extinction. Every time we destroy one forest, we are putting ourselves one foot closer to a death hole,” he added.
Under Zubiri’s proposed bill, a task force for the preservation and rehabilitation of forests will be formed headed by the DENR secretary and the secretaries of the DND and DILG as its members.
Office of Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri
Refer to Jenny Bugarin, 0920.9506140