Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) chief Eduardo Año claimed that some mayors are involved in the illegal logging and mining operations in their towns. The agency begins its crackdown on violators of environmental regulations.
Año said there were instances wherein mayors either directly or indirectly benefited from illegal mining and logging.
“There were instances like that, but not all (mayors). There are those who aren’t directly involved, but they know of their existence,” Año said in a radio interview, referring to the illegal activities that have been partly blamed for recent massive flooding in Luzon.
“Maybe (operators of these illegal activities) funded their (mayors’) campaigns or supported their candidacies,” Año added.
While the DILG chief did not disclose what the government would do to the mayors involved in the illegal logging and mining, he reminded the public to take the elections seriously.
“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,” he said.
Año said he had also directed all local governments and police nationwide to launch a crackdown on illegal logging and quarrying and expedite tree-planting projects.
Año reveals some mayors involved in illegal logging, mining
“The flooding brought by Typhoon Ulysses is a harsh reminder that we are failing at doing our level best to protect the environment, especially our remaining forest cover,” he said in a statement.
Local officials also ordered to put police checkpoints to intercept illegal logging operators.
Government forces were ordered to arrest illegal loggers, who can be criminally charged for violating the Forestry Code of the Philippines (PD 705) and Republic Act No. 9175 or the Chainsaw Act of 2002, among others.
“It is imperative that we must stop the wanton destruction of our remaining forest resources not only for our sake but also for future generations who will suffer the consequences of our inaction,” he said.
Año also urged all local government units to deploy more forest guards. Department of Environment and Natural Resources was ordered to send more foresters to monitor the country’s forests’ status and initiate reforestation programs.