Press Release
December 3, 2006

Press statement of Sen. Jamby Madrigal

As a Bicolana, I deeply sympathize with the victims of the massive landslide in Albay and other parts of the Bicol Region. I commend as well the on going rescue measures and support being provided to all Bicolanos..

Now is not the time to point fingers, but when this tragic incident has passed, we must ask if it could have been prevented. The laws of nature dictate that landslides happen for a reason. They all have a environmental cause. We saw this happen in Aurora and Quezon in 2004 and only months ago in Southern Leyte. Sa lahat ng ito, ang mahihirap ang mga namamatay. Ilang tao pa ba ng kailangan masawi bago natin pangalagaan ang ating kalikasan?

Mrs. Arroyo, I call on you now to impose the total log ban,call for the suspension of all mining explorations now in Bicol Region and the passage of a National Land Use Code . Masyado na po ang hirap ng ating mga kababayan.

According to HARIBON, over the last century, the forest area in the Philippines has fallen from 21 million hectares in 1900 to less then 6 million in 1996 (DENR 2002). The decline in old-growth forest from 70 percent to 18% (ESSC 1999) in less than a century is probably the most rapid and severe in the world. The timber trade also suffered from this overexploitation. Our country, which was once the number one exporter of first class hardwood timber, now relies on imports to supply our own domestic needs (FAO 1997). Efforts at reforestation and/or tree plantation have not been sustained and taken seriously enough to become viable alternatives to logging. The high dependency on wood extraction from natural forest contributes greatly to the continued forest degradation. I challenge Mrs. Arroyo to use her discretionary funds in the Office of the President to immediately extend assistance to the families and victims of this tragedy.

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