Aquino mulls implementation of total log ban policy nationwide

January 15, 2011 2:34 am 

LEGAZPI CITY, Albay, Jan. 14 – Amid continuous rains that caused massive flooding and landslides in several areas in the country, President Benigno S. Aquino III said he is studying the implementation of a total log ban policy nationwide.

“There must be a long-term intervention to all these flooding. Actually I’m thinking of a total log ban everywhere in the country,” the President said during the briefing on the extent of damage wrought by the continuous rain in Albay the past 22 days.

The Chief Executive arrived here early Friday morning (7:10 a.m.) to oversee the extent of damage and check on the progress of the concerned agencies on the ground in assisting the affected residents.

Studies show that a total log ban policy in all primary forests not only abate the effect of climate change but also prevent flooding because trees prevent sediment runoff and forests hold and use more water than farms on grasslands.

The prolong rainfall in Albay and Sorsogon provinces in the Bicol region damaged lives, properties and vital infrastructures, prompting the President to order the Department of Public Works and Highways to repair or replace damaged infrastructures the soonest possible time.

He also ordered the Department of Social Welfare and Development to assist the 3,199 farmers whose crops were destroyed by the rains, the economically displaced households, and continued assistance to evacuees.

The President also said the replacement or augmentation of Albay’s calamity fund will be studied.

At the same time, the President congratulated the local government officials, military, and other concerned agencies for their timely force evacuation efforts that saved lives.

He noted that what his administration has been doing for the past seven months has “empowered us to be able to assist the people.”

During his visit, the President also turned over relief goods that included relief packs, hygiene and first aid kits to Albay Governor Joey Salceda.

For his part, Salceda expressed his gratitude to the President for taking time out from his busy schedule to visit Albay.

Salceda said the President gave immediate resolution to his appeal for support to non-evacuated economically displaced households totaling 4,241 as well as to the displaced farmers.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, in a report to the President, said the damage to property, infrastructure and agriculture caused by floods and landslides in parts of Bicol, Visayas and Mindanao in the last two weeks has reached P1.2 billion, while displaced families totaled 262,107 or 1,355,229 persons.

Death toll has reached 42, eight injured and five missing. (PNA) scs/PCOO/fpv/utb

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