Saturday, December 19, 2009

12,000 signatures call to cancel IFMA permits in Gingoog City

CAGAYAN Journal ( BEN BALCE / Dec 19) - Hundreds of petitioners who converged at the Parish of Gingoog city filed a complaint Friday asking the local government authorities to immediate withdraw the resolution endorsing the “legal logging” activity through an Industrial Forest Management Agreement (IFMA) permit of Southwood Timber Corporation (STC).

Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center-Kasama sa Kalikasan (LRC-CdO) team Leader Carl Cesar C. Rebuta said the petitioners even called for the immediate cancellation of their IFMA.

“We have already signed a petition and collected at least 12,000 signatures to oppose such agreement,” said Rebuta adding that the agreement was undeniably harmful to the environment and especially to the lives and livelihood of thousand others in the whole region.

Rebuta said the complaint with 12,000 signatures was filed at 9:00 a.m. on Friday (Dec. 18, 2009) before the office of Mayor Ruthie Guingona and the Sangunniang Panglungsod office.

According to Rebuta the undefeatable calamities and political tragedies which have battered the country has left the country in a dismal state.

In his statements sent to this paper, Rebuta said that in the aftermath of the events of the floods Ondoy and Pepeng alone, thousands of Filipinos are left without homes and grieving over loved ones, whether they were actually lost or found.

“In the local scenario, the people of Misamis Oriental are no stranger to these calamities,” said Rebuta.

This year alone, he said massive destruction has been brought to the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Gingoog due to the flashfloods and heavy rains last January and November incidents.

But these destructive incidents will not cease as more and more environmental laws and prohibitions are being blatantly disregarded by various mining and logging corporations, giving way to enormous environmental devastation, according to Rebuta.

The petitioners who signed the complaint were members of the Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center-Kasama sa Kalikasan/Friends of the Earth (LRC-KsK/FoE), Ecology care(Ecop-care), non-government organizations in Misamis Oriental and along with the various communities surrounding the areas of Mt. Balatucan and Mt. Minalwang, all of Misamis Oriental.

“Such agreement (IFMA) will prove to be detrimental not only to the environment but also to our lives, livelihood, homes, families and the entire communities,” said Rebuta.

IFMA agreement will allow the Southwood Timber Corporation (STC) to cut trees in the areas which are deemed in the process of becoming a watershed, which is crucial to the communities’ everyday life.

Under IFMA, he also said that it will enable them to harvest those trees which serve as protection against upcoming calamities and floods which will affect the regions in the future.

Rebuta said that as such agreement of 11,476 hectares which will last for 25 years.

“One can only imagine what kind of calamities and floods our region will have to experience based on the flashfloods we have experienced this year alone,” said Rebuta.


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Friday, December 18, 2009

‘Haba-haball’ driver’s murder still puzzles cops

CAGAYAN Journal (Ben Balce / Dec. 18) - THE Bulua police yesterday found a habal-habal driver brutally killed at Apovel Subdivision.

The victim was identified as Jectofer Pio, 25, of St. Ignatius, Barangay Macasandig. He hailed from Magcalugay,
San Fernando, Bukidnon.

‘‘He bathed in his own blood,’’ said SPO1 Dominador Datahan, chief investigator of the Bulua police.

Datahan said the victim was found near the gate of one of the houses in Apovel at around
12:30 am.

“Murag manok nga gipatay ang biktima,” said Datahan, adding that the victim’s head was nearly severed.

There was blood on the road up to the gate.

Bulua police head Chief Insp. Dexter Paje said investigators were still conducting an investigation in hopes of identifying a suspect.

Paje said he doubted if the robbery was a motive. He said police found the victim’s personal belongings intact.

“No robbery here. The wallet, including his income for that day and his cellular phone, (are) still intact,” said Paje.

He said the victim was dead when members of the Scene of the Crime Operatives (Soco) came.

Paje said police investigators are now focused on the last person who contacted the victim.

The victim’s wife Rowena Pio, 24, told this paper that she has no suspect in mind.

Rowena said her husband left the house after receiving a text message from a customer at around
10 pm.

The text message reads: ‘‘Pre, pahatod ko nimu sa Camaman-an. Hulat ko diri sa imo. OK? Salamat. Naa japun sa gisunduan nimu.’’


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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Due to imminent eruption of Mt. Mayon Volcano: Government should look disaster mitigation, evacuation says Guingona

CAGAYAN Journal (Ben Balce / Dec 17) - Bukidnon Representative Teofisto “TG” Guingona III said authorities and experts should look to the disaster mitigation and evacuation being presently undertaken in Albay Province due to the imminent eruption of the Mayon Volcano to learn valuable lessons in Disaster Risk and Reduction Management.

The Solon has managed to have the DRRM Bill approved in the Congress on December 8 this year. The bill only needs to be approved in the Bicameral Committee which the Solon said should not face any rough sailing since the Upper House has already approved it own version of the bill.

“The recent events brought about by the rumblings of the Mayon Volcano should provide lessons that have to be learned if we are to make the implementation of the DRRM Bill work effectively,” Guingona said.

Disaster mitigation officials here have started evacuating close to 10,000 families residing within a radius of six to eight kilometers from the crater of Mayon Volcano after it spewed lava which flowed half a kilometer down-slope upon the order of the governor of Albay.

Government vehicles, mostly trucks from the Philippine Army, have already been dispatched, and some of them had already started loading evacuees from designated pickup points located in village centers.

Cong. Guingona III said the province of Albay has probably the best disaster mitigation, response and rehabilitation program in the country today. Following the disastrous effects of natural disasters in the country, including Typhoon Frank which devastated the Bicol Region, steps have been taken to improve the province’s disaster response system.

“With the DRRM in place, the national and local governments’ response to disaster should focus on mitigation rather than responding after the calamity has struck. We all know the cost to life and property if the country is once again caught flat-footed once disasters strike anew,” Guingona said.