DENR 10 should answer for the floods – Zubiri

He said the country has a lot of laws on environment, such as on logging and mining.

"But the problem is with enforcement. The DENR Region 10 should make an accounting of illegal logging and mining areas," he told reporters here last week.

He said the DENR in the area could be blamed since they did not monitor illegal logging and small scale mining.

"DENR should enforce the laws. (This happened) because of their inability, inefficiency to apprehend. We haven't heard any case that they have arrested illegal loggers and miners," he said.

While it is true that there is climate change going on, Zubiri said, the flooding that affected Northern Mindanao is also man-made.

He said illegal mining and small scale mining has contributed to siltation, and in turn caused the flashfloods.

"If it won't be dredged or if we don't build a dike, that will become a constant problem of the city (Cagayan de Oro)," he said, adding it should be done with massive reforestation.

Zubiri said he would back a move to submit the DENR 10 officials for a hearing at the House of Representatives to shed light on the matter.

"If the outcome of the hearing would be unacceptable, then we might call them for a hearing in the Senate," he added.

Zubiri said it might not be true that the total log ban in the province (Bukidnon) is enforced since there are reports of logging in areas close to boundaries with Lanao del Norte and Misamis Oriental.

"We must be vigilant to monitor the area," he said, reacting to a report that forest cover in Bukidnon's boundary with Cagayan de Oro has diminished, contributing to the floods.

He said he filed a total log ban bill four times while he was still in the House of Representatives.

"But some of my colleagues in the House were logging protectors, that's why it could not pass," he lamented.

Without naming them, Zubiri said the congressmen who blocked his bills were those from Surigao and Agusan provinces and from Northern Luzon.

He said there is approximately only five percent remaining forest cover (primary growth forest) in the country. "It should be declared as natural parks to become protected areas," he said. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)