WOOD PRODUCERS APPEAL VS TOTAL LOG BAN / AQUINO EYES TOTAL LOG BAN
[PHOTO - THE LOGO OF THE PHILIPPINE WOOD PRODUCERS website: Knowing the PWPA: PWPA is the national association of corporations, partnership and individuals involved in forest management, forest plantation development, manufacturing of lumber, veneer and plywood and other downstream value-added wood products as well as in trading of these products.The vision-mission of PWPA is geared toward both managing the forest and developing the wood-based industry on productively sustainable basis in order to have them serve their ecological, social and economic ends. To know more about PWPA click here.]
MANILA, JANUARY 21, 2011 (STAR) By Marianne V. Go - The Philippine Wood Producers Association (PWPA) appealed yesterday to President Aquino to reconsider a total log ban, warning of its social impact on over two million people directly and indirectly working in the wood industry.
In a press conference yesterday in Quezon City, PWPA officials, led by its president Antonio Olizon and board members Evaristo Narvaez Jr. and Fernando Lu, pointed out that a total log ban has “never really worked.”
Instead, the PWPA officials warned that a total log ban would only increase illegal logging activities from which the government does not get any benefits.
A nationwide log ban or moratorium, the PWPA officials said, would lead to a loss of at least P30 billion in investments made by firms engaged in the wood industry.
The PWPA said investors in the wood sector, would be discouraged from putting in further investments in the sector.
Likewise, Philippine wood producers would lose an estimated $1 billion in annual exports of high value-added and high-end finished wood products, they added.
The PWPA also warned that up to about 650,000 direct workers in the wood processing and furniture industries would lose their jobs if a total log ban is implemented, possibly resulting in social unrest.
Additionally, about 1.5 million people indirectly employed by the wood industry would also be affected.
The PWPA also warned that without local wood production, prices of wood products would skyrocket as the country would have to import wood products at a time when demand from other countries such as China are high.
Narvaez pointed out that the total log ban imposition is triggered during times of massive flooding like that which recently occurred in Bicol.
However, Narvaez argued, logging may not be the only cause for the flooding, but climate change may also be a factor as evidenced by the recent floods that hit Australia and the Middle East.
The PWPA officials clarified that only protected forest and those in watershed areas should be covered by a total log ban, while residual forest that are covered by timber license agreement (TLAs) and industrial forest management agreements (IFMAs) should be allowed to continues with their sustainable forestry management practices.
EARLIER NEWS FROM MANILA TIMES
AQUINO EYES TOTAL LOG BAN TO AVERT FLOODS BY CRIS G. ODRONIA REPORTER AND RHAYDZ BARCIA RESEARCHER Saturday, 15 January 2011 00:00
BLAMING the flash floods in some provinces to the illegal cutting of trees, President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Friday said he is considering the implementation of a total log ban in the country.
“There must be a long-term intervention to all these flooding. Actually, I‘m thinking of a total log ban in the country,” President Aquino said during a briefing on the extent of damage caused by continuous rain in Albay.
The President visited Legazpi City, Albay, to oversee the extent of damage of flooding and check the progress of the concerned agencies on the ground in assisting the victims.
The President arrived at the Legazpi City Domestic Airport at 7:10 a.m. and immediately proceeded to the VIP Hall of the Tactical Operations Group 5-Philippine Air Force where he met Gov. Joey Salceda, local mayors, Armed Forces of the Philippines officials, disaster responders and managers in Albay.
During a separate interview there, the President said he would issue an executive order that will address the problem of illegal logging in the country.
“By Monday, I’m hoping the executive order will be ready—that will drastically cut down the problem of illegal cutting of log,” he said.
Mr. Aquino has earlier said he would take “very strong actions” against the illegal cutting of trees after he received reports that such activity still continues.
He blamed illegal logging for the devastation caused by flash floods in some provinces, noting that the trees are the first defense against the flooding.
The widespread flooding and landslides that hit Bicol region specifically Albay before Christmas Day including in Guinsaugon in Leyte and Butuan in Caraga region claimed 40 people, since the tail end of the cold front has affected the country.
With this, President Aquino called on all local officials, disaster managers and responders across the country to enforce heightened preparedness in time of disaster to prevent death and attain government’s “zero casualty goal.”
During his visit, the President also personally turned over to Salceda relief assistance to the families displaced by the flooding.
Moreover, Mr. Aquino told the Department of Social Welfare and Development to assist the farmers whose crops were destroyed as well as the families displaced by the flooding.
The President has also directed the Department of Public Works and Highways to repair the damaged infrastructure in the province.
The governor on the other hand has asked President Aquino to help Legazpi City in establishing a floodgate system to avert serious flooding. The floodgate project according to Salceda will cost P575 million.
The President also said the replacement or augmentation of the calamity fund of the Albay province will be studied. Besides Albay, Mr. Aquino also on Friday visited Saint Bernard in Southern Leyte and Butuan City in Agusan del Norte.
Meanwhile, the Department of Education said classes in Samar—in the towns of San Jose de Buan and San Jorge have been suspended since Wednesday, as some school buildings have been damaged after heavy rains and flooding continue to ravage areas in the Eastern Visayas region.
The Education department said officials in the region are still assessing the worth of destroyed infrastructures in the mentioned areas.
School and division officials are looking at temporarily providing pupils with learning modules that can be studied at home—as well as organizing classes in unaffected areas in the locality.
Heavy rains have pounded the region for almost a week now, forcing the evacuation of thousands of residents to safer grounds and the temporary suspension of classes. With report from Maria Nikka U. Garriga
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