By CPP Information Bureau
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today said that the Aquino government's proposal to implement a total log ban "comes too late and too little" to resolve the grave plunder and destruction of the environment that have long wasted the land and resources of the country,
damaged food production, and caused sufferings among the people.
The environmental catastrophe that has engulfed the country is currently underscored by massive floods and landslides now devastating several areas under unusually prolonged heavy rainfalls in the eastern part of the Philippines.
The CPP said that the plunder and destruction of the environment is being carried out not only by large-scale commercial loggers, but by big foreign mining companies and plantations that poison the land and silt the rivers and waterways.
Proposals to ban logging have cropped up several times in the past but none one of the puppet reactionary governments ever had the determination to put a stop to big commercial logging, said the CPP. "Aquino's log ban proposal will most likely similarly end like a wimp."
The CPP expressed doubts that Aquino will put a stop to the big commercial operations of the San Jose Timber Corporation owned by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile that controls a 96,000-hectare timber concession in Samar and is within the 330,000-hectare protected Samar Island Nature Park. The CPP also doubts whether Aquino would order a stop to the big logging operations of the Surigao Development Corporation (SUDECOR) which controls a 76,000-hectare timber concession in Surigao del Sur, covering one of the fast-depleting areas of Mindanao's remaining virgin forests.
"While the reactionary Philippine government endlessly prates about protecting the Philippine forests, the revolutionary government has for many years implemented policies to ban destructive large-scale logging and mining operations that plunder and destroy the environment and waste productive resources," said the CPP.
"Protecting the remaining forest cover has been carried out effectively mainly in areas where the revolutionary forces wield political authority," said the CPP. "For the past several years, the people's democratic government has banned destructive large-scale commercial logging and mining. Violators of this policy have been and will continue to be severely dealt with."
The Philippines is among the countries with the highest deforestation rates, with only around seven million hectares of forest land left (less than 20% of the original forest cover). Large-scale commercial logging and denudation have been carried out since the US colonial period. Up to the 1970s, forest products have been among the top ten exports from the Philippines.
Despite the rapidly dwindling forest cover, the Philippine government continues to issue permits to big logging companies to cut down trees for commercial use and export. Currently, up to 100,000 hectares more forest areas are being denuded yearly by big logging and mining operations.