MANILA, Philippines–Logs that tumbled down the mountains of Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental at the height of Typhoon “Pablo’s” fury will be used to build houses for those left homeless by the storm, the government said Thursday.
Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said he ordered his department’s executive director of Davao Region to donate all confiscated logs and other forest products retrieved in Pablo’s aftermath for the rehabilitation and rebuilding of areas damaged by the calamity.
These include logs from trees felled by illegal loggers and those that were uprooted by strong winds during the storm.
In a memorandum to Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman and Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, Paje said he had asked Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-Region 11 Executive Director Joselin Marcus Fragada to see to the matter.
“Similar to what we have done in Cagayan De Oro City and Iligan City during Typhoon Sendong, we wish to inform you that we have again made available all confiscated logs/lumber and retrieved timbers from natural forests for the rehabilitation of areas and communities affected by Typhoon Pablo,” Paje said in the memo.
Paje said the turnover of the confiscated timber products and retrieved logs would help speed up the construction of shelters for the homeless and the repair of government buildings damaged heavily by the storm.
He also asked the Departments of Social Welfare and Development and of Public Works and Highways to help the DENR clear the affected communities of trees uprooted by Pablo, by tapping the beneficiaries of the DSWD’s cash-for-work program in its retrieval operations.
This can be done in coordination with the Department of the Interior and Local Government and concerned local government units, he added.
Paje said the retrieval of fallen trees was part of preemptive measures by the DENR to “prevent possible log jamming and destruction of bridges and other vital infrastructures and facilities during the rainy season.”