Thesis Statement: The illegal logging in the Philippines, which is perpetrated by criminal organizations results to violence and human rights violations.
Negative Effects of Illegal Logging
Illegal Logging has a wide-range of negative environmental, social and economic impacts. Immediate impacts include loss of biodiversity, erosion, subsequent water pollution, forest fires, flash flooding and landslides (Lawson and Macfaul 9).
The Philippines has always been a part of the logging industry. During the 50’s to the 70’s, the Philippines became the top exporter of logs. But because of the logging industry, three-fourths of the archipelago was covered with forests in the 1950s. This figure shrank by half in 1972, and by 1988 only a quarter remained, leaving a tiny fraction of virgin forest . Because of its negative impact on our environment, the logging industry being controlled by Executive Order 23 slowly became smaller and smaller.
One of the main reasons why logging is being controlled because forest destruction in turn contributes to twenty percent of global carbon dioxide emissions in which it would speed up the process of climate change. Illegal Logging and associated trade in illegally sourced wood products are important causes of deforestation and forest degradation in many developing countries, but the destruction of our environment is not the only issue here. Violence related to logging is also a big issue that needs to be tackled about (Lawson and Macfaul 1).
During the 1990s, units of company guards, which in some areas amount to small private armies who are hired by logging companies, have intimidated, arbitrarily detained, tortured, and in some cases killed residents who are surrounding the land they are going to log. They use aggression to fend off tribes who are residing in that area that they need. This is because they cannot pursue the logging activities unless the said land is a “No Man’s Land” or no one is residing in that area. Sister Mary John Dumaog, a Catholic nun, said that the members of Manpatilan’s Civilian Home Defense Force (CHDF) terrorized Banwaon communities, murdering at least twenty six civilians, six of them by hanging. According to indigenous peoples’ organizations, throughout this period the army and paramilitary groups regularly abducted and killed residents, burned their houses and crops, and pillaged or destroyed their livestock and possessions (The Philippines: Human Rights 19). It’s not only the residents who are being abused, government workers and officials are threatened on a regular basis. In several areas, local government authorities and members of the military involved in illegal logging have, in their official capacities, harassed and punished officials and private individuals opposed to illegal logging.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources Region X office in Cagayan de Oro regularly received anonymous threats over the phone and in the mail. Those who turned down bribes to get illegal hauls through found themselves facing death threats. During 1979 to 1994, at least sixty one forest guards and environmentalists were murdered in the course of their work (The Philippines: Human Rights 8).
Because of the pursuance of logging even though it is being held off, many human rights violations and violence related to logging are being committed throughout the year. President Aquino issued Executive Order 23 in February 2011 halting all authorized logging operations in natural forests nationwide and virtually stopping timber extraction of about 300 million board feet a year. If Illegal logging were to be slowly brought to a complete end within the next ten years, between two to twenty two billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions might be avoided (Lawson and Macfaul 6). The implementation by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources of Executive Order 23 has drastically reduced the illegal logging hotspots to 31 from a high of 197. The DENR also has deal with armed groups employed by illegal loggers (Villanueva 14).
Between fifty to ninety percent of logging activities in tropical countries are mostly done by criminal organizations (Steiner). The intensified campaign against illegal loggers was earlier ordered by DENR regional executive director Maximo Dichoso targeting Bongabon and other hotspots such as the towns of Carranglan, Gabaldon, Gen Tinio, Laur and Pantabangan. Many civilians and DENR officials have been already hurt by the operations conducted by the DENR against Illegal Loggers, including the attacks on a DENR forester (Galvez 16). According to line taken from Executive Order 23 “The Task Force is hereby mandated to take the lead in the anti-illegal logging campaign and ensure the implementation of this Executive Order under the supervision of the DENR. It shall also assist the DENR in the enforcement of other environmental laws“. The anti-illegal logging task force (AILTF) has approved the reclassification of the campaign against illegal loggers in Mindanao as “active military operations” and dissolved existing civilian and retired military contingents of the task force, including the removal of retired general Renato Miranda as head of the AILTF Kalikasan (Andrade 1).
Elements of Style
1. Do not take shortcuts at the cost of clarity: President Aquino issued “EO” 23 (EO for Executive Order) 2. Put the period after the parenthetical citation
Example: WRONG…retired General Renato Miranda as head of the AILTF Kalikasan. (Andrade 1) RIGHT…. retired General Renato Miranda as head of the AILTF Kalikasan (Andrade 1). 3. In a series of three or more terms with a single conjunction, use a comma after each term except the last. Example: WRONG…who are hired by logging companies, have intimidated, arbitrarily detained, tortured and in some cases killed residents who are surrounding the land they are going to log. RIGHT… who are hired by logging companies, have intimidated, arbitrarily detained, tortured, and in some cases killed residents who are surrounding the land they are going to log. 4. Place a comma before and or but introducing an independent clause. Example: … causes of deforestation and forest degradation in many developing countries, but the destruction of our environment is not the only issue here.