Naga City is under risk of disaster, says Ortega

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Luis Ortega of Naga City: Disasters may hit Naga unless government officials exercise their political will to impose sound environment policies. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Luis Ortega of Naga City: Disasters may hit Naga unless government officials exercise their political will to impose sound environment policies. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

By Joey Natividad
Special Correspondent

NAGA CITY (BicolToday.com/11-Dec-2012) – A civic leader in this city raises concern that flash floods and landslides might occur in the city as its forest reserves have been depleted and deforested in the last 20 years owing to negligence by government and Naga officials in enforcing its forest reserve law.

Luis Ortega also said that businessmen with connections with some Naga City officials had denuded the forest reserves just to make big profits in the past two decades.

Ortega is a businessman and active in civic organizations such as Knights of Columbus.

Ortega is referring to Naga’s 600 hectares forest park in the Panicuason village area and the other thousands of hectares at the foothills of Mount Isarog.

Ortega said that since in the early 1990’s, logging and lumber firms had denuded the Naga forest reserves and had made big profits owing to their connections with government and Naga City officials.

“One lumber firm is the Tabuco Lumber which had acted as financer and buyer of felled timber in the Naga-Mount Isarog area. Mount Isarog and its once forested areas provide the much-needed drinking water that flows into Naga and the satellite towns,” said the civic leader.

He said that landslides and flashfloods have hit the urban areas in Metro Manila, the Visayas, and Mindanao. The disasters were blamed on deforestation and lack of poltical will to reforest protected areas and reserves.

“Naga City might esperience this disaster unless city officials have the political will to impose logging ban within its jurisdiction,” said Ortega. [BicolToday.com]

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