ISABELA Gov. Rodolfo Albano III has been challenged by an organization to come up with data that proves there is no illegal logging in his province which has caused massive flooding there recently.
The dare was made by Alyansa Tigil Muna (ATM) National Coordinator Jaybee Garganera when Albano denied the existence of illegal logging and mining in Isabela following Cagayan Gov. Manuel Mamba’s admission that illegal logging and mining still exist in Cagayan under the protection of corrupt mayors.
Although they have no actual proof, Garganera said there are complaints regarding the unabated illegal mining and logging in Isabela.
If only an aerial survey could be done like the late Environment Secretary Gina Lopez used to do, Garganera said the reported massive deforestation and presence of heavy equipment used in quarrying and mining in Isabela and Cagayan would be revealed.
“Even if they say there’s none, it’s not true because there really is (illegal logging and mining). The problem with mining, quarrying and logging is they’re intertwined and they require cutting down trees which is what is happening,” said Garganera.
Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) President Danilo Ramos said illegal loggers and miners continue to operate with the go-signal of local governments.
Ramos said the Departments of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Interior and Local Government (DILG) should probe the denials of illegal logging and mining because there could be a coverup in connection with the wide flooding in the two provinces.
Mamba disclosed that there are some wealthy mayors whom he did not identify are in cahoots with uniformed personnel in illegal logging in Cagayan.
According to the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO), some towns in Cagayan remain illegal logging hotspots in the province.
Earlier Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque admitted that lapses in enforcement allowed illegal mining and logging to continue in Isabela and Cagayan.
Roque said those involved will answer for the illegal activities linked to the flooding once the investigation by the DENR and Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano is finished.
Ano said what happened in Cagayan and Isabela should serve as a wake-up call for all to be careful in electing the nation’s leaders.
“Our citizens need to learn and vote for those who are serious and have no connections to anything illegal. We need to pick, otherwise we would be experiencing these things over and over again,” Ano said.
Albano and Dy are among the known politicians who have been serving in Isabela as lawmakers and even in other provincial government posts.