Press Release
January 18, 2011

Speech on the Log Ban
Sen. Juan Miguel F. Zubiri

Mr President, distinguished colleagues, my fellow Filipinos, I am quite certain I need not attempt to weave words in order to paint a vivid picture as to how catastrophic recent events have turned out to be in our country. They speak loudly for themselves, and the message, I daresay, reverberates across our land. Ladies and gentlemen, I talk of the floods and landslides that beset St. Bernard in the province of Leyte, Butuan City, and most especially the province of Albay. The aftermath is, to say the least, very devastating. At least Forty Two (42) people have died and the number of displaced families has reached One Million Three Hundred Fifty Five Thousand Two Hundred Twenty Nine (1, 355, 299). In the province of Albay alone, the disaster claimed Twenty Five (25) lives and the number of displaced individuals has already ballooned to Four Hundred Fifty Two Thousand Nine Hundred Ninety Nine (452, 999) people. Add to all these the estimate made by the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council as regards the damage to property, infrastructure, and agriculture amounting to One Billion Two Hundred Million Pesos (Php 1, 200, 000, 000.00). This is absolutely not a fascinating picture, Mr. President. But I have to admit, we painted this ourselves.

The tragedies in Ormoc, Mindoro, Davao, and Quezon should have already served as a lesson and a call to action. They were sign posts that logging activities in the country have taken their toll in the environment. "We are losing our trees. We are losing them fast!" As correctly pointed out by no less than the President of the Republic, our trees are our first defense against these disastrous flashfloods and landslides. But sadly, we are slowly and surely squandering this defense due to no other than our continuous unsustainable exploitation of forest resources. We all have seemed to be unmindful of the fact that our incessant irresponsible utilization of finite resources almost always results into a catastrophe.

I commend therefore and in fact rally behind, President Benigno Simeon Aquino III in his pronouncement that there is an imperative need for a log ban in the Philippines. Although I am of the belief that a total log ban should be imposed in the whole country, the Executive Order that President Noynoy Aquino shall sign today mandating a log ban in specified areas in the Philippines is definitely a welcome development and absolutely a step in the right direction. Thousands of Filipinos have already drowned as the same number or even more loved ones have been left forgotten beneath the rubbles of gravel and mud. It is thus incumbent, to say the least, upon our government to take a drastic and positive action - a course of action that goes beyond the mere act of hurling a buoy to keep our people afloat, but an action that would keep Juan Dela Cruz from falling over and drifting away.

Mr. President, in view of all these, I appeal to all our colleagues in this Chamber to join me as I call on the Executive to certify as urgent measures pending before the Senate imposing a total log ban all over the country. I humbly submit and offer for the consideration of our people, Senate Bill 2172 which I filed during the Fourteenth Congress proposing a Thirty-Five (35) year Moratorium on all logging operations in the country except for commercially planted trees, not located in primary and secondary growth areas, for commercial and/or industrial purposes. I am of the strong belief that this measure juxtaposed with those of the other bills filed by the luminaries of this Senate would ensure, without a doubt, sustainable development for the Philippines.

Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, I call on all our people to endeavour to "best work and best agree" as we struggle to meet the needs of our present generation without compromising those of generations to come.

Maraming Salamat po! At Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!

News Latest News Feed