A Catholic bishop has appealed for an investigation into the heavy flooding that claimed at least five lives and displaced thousands of families as storm “Basyang” hit Mindanao recently.
Bishop Nereo Odchimar of Tandag said the disaster caused “untold suffering” of many people who lost their houses and farms.
“Many residents are calling for an investigation into the reasons why the flood came so fast,” he said in a statement on Feb. 17.
The prelate noted that in some areas, a number of logs and felled trees were swept downstream, particularly on the much-affected parts of Carrascal and Cantilan towns.
“Could the reason be due to massive mining operations that denuded the natural forested mountains and critical watersheds of Cantilan and Carrascal?” he said.
Odchimar lamented that the provincial government of Surigao del Sur, in their report, made no mention on the extent of the devastation, “let alone its root cause”.
Instead, the bishop said it only mentioned its relief and rescue operations with the help of mining companies.
“Some of which are allegedly owned by the high-ranking government officials of the province,” he added.
The former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines urged the concerned government agencies to organize a “multi-stakeholder and multi-disciplinary” team that will look into the matter.
“We continue to pray for the victims of the calamity. We seek justice for the economic wreckage on agriculture,” he said. (Roy Lagarde / CBCPNews)