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Sotto wants to reassess Philippine environment laws following floods


Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Saturday said he is seeking for a reassessment of the environmental laws in the Philippines after widespread flooding brought by consecutive typhoons displaced thousands of people across the country.

“Nagkaroon ako ng paninindigan na dapat i-review na ang protocols at batas sa environment, hindi lang on the national level pati sa local level para ma-realize din na first line of defense barangay at mayor,” Sotto said in a radio interview.

Likewise, he pointed out that during emergencies, the public should not immediately seek out the national government if no relief goods have been distributed.

“Dapat pangangailangan doon or mga problema doon dapat talaga pinaghahandaan na ‘yun at hindi ‘yung pagka-nagkaroon ng bagyo tapos wala pang nagpadala ng ayuda, ang hahanapin agad national government, presidente agad [ang hahanapin],” Sotto said.

“Asan ang mayor mo, asan ang governor mo. ‘Wag mo kaagad sisisihin ang presidente kasi ibig sabhin noon hindi mo alam ang burukrasya ng gobyerno,” he added.

Sotto said officials need to find out if there are issues with flood control and the ban on logging.

“[M]adali kasi magbintang pero tama ba ang binibintang. Kahapon pinag-uusapan ‘yun. Bakit hindi agad nagpakawala [ng tubig sa dam] bago ang bagyo. May narinig ako nag sabi, e 'di kung hindi dumating ang ulan, edi kapos tayo ng tubig,” he said.

Residents of Barangay Banglos in General Nakar, Quezon have blamed illegal logging for the destruction of their houses at the height of the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses.

Meanwhile, President Rodrigo Duterte blamed low-income families for deforestation, saying that poor communities in farms cut down trees and use the wood to build their houses and that this causes deforestation.

The agricultural damage brought by Ulysses has increased to P6.1 billion while the agricultural damage brought by super typhoon Rolly was recorded at P1.1 billion.

Deaths related to Rolly was, meanwhile, recorded at 25 while the death toll due to Ulysses was at 73. —LBG, GMA News

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