A member of the Philippine parliament blamed unbridled large-scale mining and logging activities in Northern Mindanao region behind the devastating floods that have left nearly 1,000 dead and hundreds missing. Said congressman Rafael Mariano of Anakpawis party: “This is a disaster waiting to happen… Mining corporations are highly accountable for the serious environmental degradation and deforestation in the region and other parts of the country.” According to the Manila-based Center for Environmental Concerns, forest cover in the Philippines is down to an estimated 6% of the original, and is further threatened by an average 157,400 hectares lost to deforestation per year.
“Flood control, environmental protection and natural resources conservation efforts will be futile if the government does not stop large scale logging and mining activities in Mindanao,” said Mariano, who also noted that President Benigno Aquino III issued Executive Order No. 23 early this year, exempting mining corporations from a logging ban instated for Mindanao in February. Mining interests in Northern Mindanao include the Philippine-owned APC, Singapore-based Orient Pearl Mining, and the Chinese Ni Hao Mineral Resources and Australia’s Sagitarrius Mines.