Butuan villagers complain wayward logs hurting their pockets

BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews/11 October) – Logs that were swept by waves while being towed towards a wood processing plant have littered the beach in Barangay Masao making cottage owners and other small businesses worry over decreased income as fewer visitors have come compared to the previous weeks.

Some 2,000 falcata logs hit the beach in Masao early morning last October 4, and around 1,200 pieces were still in the area as of Tuesday.

Village chief Bernardo Perez said he was worried since it is almost weekend again.

“I told them that the beach should be clear by Saturday or else it will be a huge hassle to our beach tourism. It has considerably affected the source of livelihood from the cottage owners to the small vendors. Just last weekend we recorded a low figure compared to the other weeks,” said Perez.

He said the log owners asked him to allow them to transfer the logs to the adjacent Masao River.

But Perez said he did not allow the transfer since the logs might destroy their fish cages there.
He added more workers should be hired to hasten the retrieval of the logs and make the beach safer for people.

Christopher Amba who owns several cottages suggested that the work should be done round the clock no matter how slow it would be.

He said the presence of the logs has upset visitors. He urged the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and other government agencies to find a faster way to clear the beach.
An entire family who was in the beach cited that they were surprised to find the beach littered with huge logs.

“We always come here since it is the only beach close enough to the city. But what we saw this morning was something else, it’s an awful sight. The government should make a move to remove these logs faster,” said Josefa Danao of Barangay Obrero.

“It’s dangerous for children since when they come to the beach they like to play on the sand, and just walking on top of the logs might lead to accidents. Also, if the tides rise I’m sure some of the logs would move and might hit people in the water,” she said.

DENR OIC Regional Executive Director for Caraga Region Marlo D. Mendoza and Regional Technical Director Noni Tamayo both said over the phone that for a week they did not know about the incident and assured that they are going to look into it.

The laborers who were watching over the logs refused to give the names of the owners of the logs but said that the logs came from the towns of San Luis, La Paz and Loreto of Agusan del Sur. (Erwin Mascarinas/MindaNews)