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Aquino creates task force to investigate deadly flashflood in Mindanao

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President Benigno S. Aquino III said he created a task force that will investigate the devastating flashfloods that killed more than 800 people in Region 10 and identify those accountable and prevent it from happening again.

“Nagbuo na tayo ng isang task force mula sa kinatawan ng Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), at pati nang Mindanao Development Authority,” the President said in a speech in Cagayan de Oro City when he visited the evacuees there on Tuesday.

“Sila po ang mag-iimbestiga sa lahat, kasama ang pagbibigay ng lunas at tugon sa ating mga katanungan para hindi na maulit ang trahedyang ito. Kailangang malaman kung saan nagkulang, kung sino ang may pagkukulang at kung paano ito dapat panagutan,” he added.

At the same time, the President said he expects the newly appointed governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to curb illegal logging in the region that causes flashfloods and disasters.

“Inaasahan ko rin na buong loob na ipatutupad ng bagong itinalagang ARMM OIC governor na si Mujib Hataman ang iniaatas kong total log ban on natural forests na ang ulat po sa akin ay walang habas na nilalabag ng mga illegal loggers sa kanya pong rehiyon,” he noted.

The President said he wants the fact finding team to come up with a report soon so his administration can take action. He told reporters that he would be displeased if the investigation takes more than three months.

The investigation will focus on Cagayan de Oro, Iligan City and Dumaguete City, the President said, adding that other areas will likewise be included.

Asked about the need to seriously look into illegal mining and illegal logging and amending the existing laws, the President said the rights of businesses must be respected.

He said logging concessionaires has the right to harvest the trees that they planted and the government can’t easily stop their operations.

“Hindi natin puwedeng sabihin, bigla na lang ‘Oops, sa gobyerno yan, sa tao na yan.’ Parang inagaw mo yung kanilang ari-arian at hindi puwede yun. Ngayon ang natuklasan natin, dito sa Iligan at nakikita n’yo doon sa baybaying-dagat nila, napakaraming troso at paniwala nga po nanggaling po ito sa Lanao,” he said.

This is the reason why he instructed the new ARMM Governor Mujib Hataman to investigate illegal logging in the region, the President said adding that he wondered why it appeared that the total log ban wasn’t being implemented in the ARMM

By PNA




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