President Rodrigo Duterte blamed “squatters” or informal settlers for deforestation, which contributed to Luzon’s massive flooding during Typhoon Ulysses.
In a briefing with Cabinet officials on Tuesday night, the President said low-income Filipinos would cut down trees to build their houses, which allegedly caused deforestation.
“‘Yong average Pilipino, they cannot afford a concrete house so halos lahat dyan, let us use the word being understood by all, ‘yang mga squatters, puro kahoy ‘yan. Bibili ‘yan including coconut wood,” he said.
“Ang problema niyan sa bukid talagang magpuputol ‘yan ng kahoy because ang mga Pilipino, ‘yan lang (ang kaya). Saan naman sila kukuha ng semento? Where do they cut the trees? In Canada? Or pupunta pa sila sa South America o Africa? So kung anong makita nilang nabibili sa small-scale… karamihan ‘yan ang ginagawang bahay ng mga tao,” he added.
Duterte said the need to cut trees increases as the population rises.
Duterte claims ‘squatters’ caused deforestation
Cimatu said floodwaters traveled down the Mayon Volcano’s slope and reached three rivers where 11 quarrying operations were ongoing.
The DENR chief said operators leaving their stockpiles in the middle of these rivers could have caused the destructive floods.
Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba also believed that the illegal logging and mining contributed to the massive flooding in the province and Isabela.