MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday ordered Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu to look into reports of illegal logging and mining after Cagayan Valley experienced massive flooding triggered by heavy rainfall due to Typhoon Ulysses and enhanced by the tail-end of a cold front.
“I will direct here Cimatu to look into the illegal minings especially where people are building their shelter downwards,” Duterte said in a situation briefing in Tuguegarao City on Sunday.
He lamented that despite being discussed in various meetings, “nothing” has been done to address illegal logging and mining in the country.
“We always talk about illegal logging and mining but actually nothing has been done about it,” he said.
Duterte also asked Cimatu to ensure that residents in flood-prone areas are relocated to higher grounds.
“In other areas, yung convincing the people to move to a place where it’s not prone to flooding. That’s the only way that we can erase agony every time that there is a typhoon over here,” he said.
He reiterated the need for urgent climate action, warning that poor countries like the Philippines are most affected by the effects of climate change.
“Accept it or not, itong (this) climate change the warm climate boils the Pacific Ocean. There’s a lot of water vapor going upstairs and accumulating so much water, rain then it falls down, talagang ang matamaan ngayon yung mga populated areas nakukumprumiso (populated areas are compromised),” he said.
Citing his speech in the ongoing 37th virtual Association of Southeast Asian Nation (Asean) Summit, Duterte reiterated the need to hold accountable the industries responsible for carbon emissions.
“We had a virtual Summit meeting Friday and I was very strong in my language about the people who contributed a lot to the global warming and anong pinakita nila sa atin na tayo (what they showed us that we in the) Philippines we only have a few factories running here. We spewed a little, but not that much,” he said.
Duterte assured that the government will continue its rescue operations until all families are saved, all casualties and missing persons have been accounted for, and all affected individuals and communities have received their needed relief and other assistance.
As of Sunday, 69 people have died amid the massive flooding in Cagayan Valley, according to National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) executive director Ricardo Jalad.
He said almost 286,000 families or 1.1 million individuals were affected by the typhoon, while more than 3,000 houses were damaged or destroyed.
Damage to agriculture is estimated at almost PHP1 billion, while damage to infrastructure is around PHP253 million, he added. (PNA)