outbrain
Close  

Election means tree cutting frenzy in Sierra Madre – tribe leader

By: - Correspondent / @dtmallarijrINQ
/ 08:06 AM October 07, 2012

Illegally cut logs from Sierra Madre are spread at the shore of the Pacific Ocean in Infanta, Quezon.CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

LUCENA CITY, Philippines – An Agta tribe leader in Sierra Madre in northern Quezon has expressed fear that the with the coming election season, more trees will be cut to finance the candidacies of illegal loggers supported politicians.

Tribe leader Ramcy Astoveza, also the director of Tribal Development Center based in Infanta, Quezon, said illegal logging activities in Sierra Madre never stop despite the government log ban.

ADVERTISEMENT

“And with the coming election, more trees will be cut and smuggled out of the mountain to finance the candidacy of corrupt politicians,” he said over the phone.

Astoveza observed that during election season there are two faces of politicians on the issue of mountain protection – pseudo environmentalist who professes to champion the cause of Sierra Madre protection and rehabilitation and candidates fronting for financier and protector of illegal loggers.

FEATURED STORIES

“This is the cycle every election, be it local and national,” he said

Fr. Pete Montallana, head of Save Sierra Madre Alliance, called on the Filipinos to be more discerning of candidates that they will vote into office.

“Vote for candidates with true and genuine environmental protection advocacy to save the remaining fragile environment,” the priest appealed to voters.

He observed that government elected officials and their political parties are now focused on winning the election than address the issues of continuous environmental destructions in their respective territorial jurisdiction.

To help protect Sierra Madre from further destruction, the “governor” of the Agta tribe registered Friday as an independent candidate for councilor of General Nakar, Quezon.

Nap Buendicho said his candidacy was decided by the council of tribe leaders to represent the indigenous people in the local government decision making particularly on matters affecting the tribal people.

“The tribe wants to have our own voice in the local government to protect Sierra Madre from further destruction. This is a matter of survival for the whole tribe and our homeland,” Buendicho said in a phone interview.

ADVERTISEMENT

He claimed that more than 2,000 tribesmen were registered voters in General Nakar, a town that lies at the foot of Sierra Madre in northern Quezon with 17,000 registered voters.

He said local and provincial officials, multi-sectoral leaders and religious have promised to support his candidacy.

Buendicho said his candidacy was the second time that a tribe member participated in the local election. He said Conchita Calzado, current commissioner of the National Commission on Indigenous People was once an elected councilor of General Nakar.

“She was elected under a political party. We have decided to go independent this time so as not to compromise our main platform – to protect Sierra Madre,” Buendicho said.

Reelectionist General Nakar Mayor Leovigildo Rozul welcomed the participation of the tribe leader.

“He can help the local council in the formulation of laws, projects and programs for the protection of Sierra Madre,” Rozul said.

Read Next
EDITORS' PICK
MOST READ
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Elections, environment, Illegal Logging, Politics
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.


© Copyright 1997-2020 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.