South Davao Dev't refuses blame for Zamboanga floods

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 09 2018 02:02 PM

MANILA - The South Davao Development Co said Tuesday it was "unfair and irresponsible" to attribute floods from the last typhoon to its operations in the Zamboanga peninsula.

The company said it had been operating in the area for 11 years and until Tropical Depression Vinta last December, floods on that scale had not happened.

Last week, Agriculture Sec. Emmanuel Piñol said he would shut down Sodaco's 60,000-hectare logging operations in Zamboanga since this allegedly made 3 municipalities more vulnerable to flash floods and landslides.

"The devastated municipalities of Siwarai, Siocon and Sibuco are considered flood prone areas because of their relatively flat elevation compared to the sea level," Sodaco said in a statement to ABS-CBN News.

"Attributing the flood, landslide and casualties to Sodaco’s clearing operation without scientific proof or due process is, therefore, unfair and irresponsible,"it said.

Sodaco said the company also replanted at least 306,360 rubber trees and 7,980 African Oil Palms in 622 hectares of reforested land.

"Unfortunately, such vegetative measures are not enough to offset the impact of a severe storm like Typhoon Vinta. Only prompt, coordinated disaster preparedness and response can save vulnerable communities from natural calamities," the company said.

On Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to suspend Sodaco's operations.