Duterte claims ‘squatters’ caused deforestation

President Rodrigo Duterte blamed “squatters” or informal settlers for deforestation, which contributed to Luzon’s massive flooding during Typhoon Ulysses.

In a briefing with Cabinet officials on Tuesday night, the President said low-income Filipinos would cut down trees to build their houses, which allegedly caused deforestation.


“‘Yong average Pilipino, they cannot afford a concrete house so halos lahat dyan, let us use the word being understood by all, ‘yang mga squatters, puro kahoy ‘yan. Bibili ‘yan including coconut wood,” he said.

“Ang problema niyan sa bukid talagang magpuputol ‘yan ng kahoy because ang mga Pilipino, ‘yan lang (ang kaya). Saan naman sila kukuha ng semento? Where do they cut the trees? In Canada? Or pupunta pa sila sa South America o Africa? So kung anong makita nilang nabibili sa small-scale… karamihan ‘yan ang ginagawang bahay ng mga tao,” he added.

Duterte said the need to cut trees increases as the population rises.

Further, the President said he is in a dilemma on how to solve the illegal logging problem in the country.

Duterte claims ‘squatters’ caused deforestation

Duterte has ordered the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to probe all illegal mining and logging activities in Cagayan Valley after the region experienced its “worst” flood in 40 years due to the heavy rains brought by Ulysses.
The mining could have loosened the soil, increasing the risks of landslides, especially during heavy rainfall, Duterte said.
DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu has suspended quarrying operations in Guinobatan following the destructive damage brought by Rolly.

Cimatu said floodwaters traveled down the Mayon Volcano’s slope and reached three rivers where 11 quarrying operations were ongoing.

The DENR chief said operators leaving their stockpiles in the middle of these rivers could have caused the destructive floods.

Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba also believed that the illegal logging and mining contributed to the massive flooding in the province and Isabela.