PH’s biggest croc’s habitat in critical condition

By Florante S. Solmerin | Posted on July 25, 2012 | 12:12am |

The Agusan marshland is in “critical condition’ due to unabated cutting of trees, the Anti-Illegal Task Force said on Tuesday.

Lolong’s lair. The Guinness-certified biggest saltwater crocodile, “Lolong,” thrives in Agusan marshlands.

The AILTF made the observation after conducting an aerial observation of the area. The task force said if unchecked, this could lead to heavy siltation that could trigger more destructive flashfoods to lowland populated areas.

The Agusan marsh is where “Lolong,” certified by the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s biggest crocodile in captivity, was captured.

“If we talk of the CARAGA area, there was aggressive cutting of trees which is very alarming especially in the PICOP (Paper Industries Corp of the Phil (PICOP) area where there was no government presence.  The forest condition in the region though is relatively okay except for the Agusan marshland area and the PICOP area. The Agusan marshland is a very critical area; it is one of the best marshlands in the world where the specie of our very ‘Lolong’ thrives, the biggest crocodile in the world. It is practically a big marshland area on top of a plateau. We  should stop cutting trees within and outside the marshland area to preserve this beauty of nature or else siltation is just around the corner,” AILTF Executive Director Renato Miranda said.

PICOP, a company engaged in the pulp business, went bankrupt because of “mismanagement” and its concession area in CARAGA was seized by the Landbank of the Philippines (LBP) because the company reportedly owes the bank billions of pesos in loan.

“The area (PICOP) is right now controlled by the LandBank, which is not capable of managing [it],” Miranda said.

PICOP owns properties in Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Sur Sur, Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley, but the bulk of its operation was in Surigao del Sur and its center of trade was located in Bislig City.

A large part of the marshland is located in Agusan del Sur where the 51,000-hectare Agroforestation Complex of the Manobo tribe is found, which is also in danger of ecological destruction because of illegal logging and mining activities.

“The marshland is so big that it stretches up to Compostela Valley. When I say big, it’s almost half of Metro Manila. When we say marshland, it is abundant with trees but during our aerial survey we found out traces of cutting activities. There is a potential threat of siltation,” the retired Marine general said.

“This situation of the marshland, I think, should be given to the experts for study. I don’t know what to suggest but I think the situation there right now is the natural habitat is really in danger,” he said.

Aside from illegal loggers, slash-and-burn farming (kaingin) is also prevalent in the area.  Miranda said the marshland is slowly turning into a “wild, wild West.”

“The area is a public domain or owned by the government but what’s happening is that everybody now wants a piece of the land. There is this so-called NCIP (National Commission on Indigenous People) lots, kaingeros’ lots, illegal loggers’ domain, and so on and so forth. The government is at a loss and maybe that is the reason why there is aggressive cutting of trees. That is why I’m strongly recommending that the government should take hold of the PICOP area,” Miranda said.

11 aliens sued for polluting bay

By Serafin Ramos Jr. | Posted on July 18, 2012 | 12:02am | 0 Comments

Sarangani Bay shoreline. Photo courtesy of Sarangani Information Office

GLAN, Sarangani—Mayor Victor James Yap Sr. filed charges Monday against 11 officers and crew of two foreign vessels that allegedly dumped pollutants into Sarangani Bay last May.

He filed a complaint before Sarangani prosecutor Felipe Vicente Velasco at the Justice on Wheels mobile court against the foreign mariners of Oceania 2 barge and its tugboat, TB Oceania 1.

The charge sheet listed Capt. Samsudin, Kyaw Htay, Shwe Thann, Keso Bin Tarjuki,

Tu Kah Hua, Tar Var Linmyint, M. Fauzi Bin Apandi, Kumaedi, Russetia Wahit, M. Zaiful Hosen, and Lau Nai Sing, who are believed to be Malaysian, Indonesian and Myanmar nationals.

They were charged for violation of the Clean Water Act, the National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 1992, marine pollution under PD 979, and Fisheries Code of 1998.

In his complaint affidavit, Yap said that the foreigners “willfully and feloniously dumped pollutants on the sea water believed to be coal, of quantity incapable of being known or estimated.”

The incident happened “on 26 May 2012, at about 4:00 o’clock in the afternoon, while on board their vessels TB Oceania 1 and Oceania 2, which vessels were stationed at about 200 meters from one of the beaches in Sitio Kabug, Barangay Kapatan.”

He said the place was within Glan’s municipal waters and inside the Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape.

A Sarangani Information Office photographer, who was on a nearby resort, caught the incident on camera and sent pictures to higher authorities. This led the Philippine Coast Guard to hold the vessels and crew.

The vessels are in custody at the International Port of Glan.

“The area, where the acts of dumping pollutants (was committed), is fronting a private resort named Belmar Ecopark Beach Resort,” the complaint said, citing accounts of onlookers.

“One of the witnesses named Marcelino W. Tangaro, owner of the beach resort, boarded a small boat, came near the two vessels, pacified the respondents in their illegal activities of dumping pollutants on the seawater by talking with its captain, which the latter heeded by asking his men to halt,” Yap said.

The Coast Guard said the vessels had unloaded their coal cargo in Manila and were set to load scrap metals at General Santos City seaport as consigned by Cebu Metal before heading for Malaysia.

The cargo, however, was unavailable on time thus the illegal anchorage in Kapatan.

Published on Manila Standard Today:

Is Backward Sustainable? I think that’s full of BS

Its more than twenty years since the Rio Summit, something that drove me to pursue a career in environmental management and development work that my mother worried about during the early years of my careers. Since it requires a lot hiking, mountain climbing and a few brushes with separatist groups in protected areas. It has also meant my periodic exposure to toxic waste water which my mother thought was pure stench. My mother has since passed away but I kept on pursuing this career path.

Unlike most of my peers who have decided to leave the country and joined the economic brain drain, I was still here, living where I had lived the rest of my life. It is this familiarity on the history of a place that makes me conclude, there is truly a degradation in the economic situation and proliferation of urban decay. Yet we still report in global indexes that our overall carbon footprint is still very minimal. That is such a paradox.

Is there really sustainable development is your carbon footprint is low? What if you’re dirt poor, you can’t even afford to eat,  therefore you have minimal need for resources, can you call that ultimate conservation?


I could not believe it is more than three weeks since I last wrote a post here, for quite some time, I do feel a strong sense of frustration that I am not really achieving much in my life. I have chosen a path that requires a lot of qualification before I could finally say I am qualified and competent to do what I am supposed to do, yet there are times when I wish I could simply just work in an office and just manage its day to day operations using my common sense.


What shall we be doing in the next few weeks? Though at times, I felt the itch of browsing through job boards and looking for new green opportunities, there is still this urge for me to at least be patient and get qualified. It can really be frustrating honestly.

Time is ticking, tick tock…and I haven’t done much.

What is truly frustrating about my career path is the very slow development of carbon market opportunities here in the Philippines, there are but everything is very limited. Other than the UNFCCC-CDM projects, there are the VCS and other voluntary carbon schemes that abound the global carbon market, yet one to two or three GHG emission projects in the Philippines would crop up.

The problem I guess is that everything becomes politicized, everyone wants to make money in the short term, foregoing the long term benefits which far outweighs the short term gains. I can’t believe I am in my thirties and things have just degraded around me, hmmph. Anyway, karmic justice will get back at you people, corrupting and greenwashing everything, you may have irresponsibly used my hard earned tax money deducted from my meager salary…but you can’t take away my competence and future qualification…aaargh!

Maybe this economic disarray and lack of opportunity is the effect of long term mismanagement…don’t look back, you’ll turn to salt…it is so hard to require patience in your life choices,  ouch!