Aerial photo of the aftermath of typhoon “Ulysses” in Cagayan (Photo from Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go)

President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday ordered the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to investigate reports of illegal logging and mining in Cagayan, of which parts were submerged due to the onslaught of typhoon “Ulysses.”

“I will direct here (Environment Secretary Roy) Cimatu to look into the illegal mining especially where people are building their shelter downwards,” Duterte said in a Tuguegarao City briefing.

“We always talk about illegal logging and mining, but actually, nothing has been done about it,” he added.

Cagayan Gov. Manuel Mamba on Saturday said that the flooding brought by “Ulysses” was a summation of the wrongs done to the environment.

“Ang talagang malaking problema namin dito, the denudation of our forest, matagal na po ito na problema, naaabuso rin po ang mga forest namin dito both of the Cordillera ang the Sierra Madre side. And then, they have the siltation of our riverbeds po, halos wala na po kaming river na makita po dito,” he said in a Laging Handa briefing.

Mamba said that a “holistic approach” was needed to address environmental concerns.

He also admitted that despite the imposition of a total logging ban, illegal logging activities have persisted in the region.

As of Sunday, 3 p.m., the flooding in Cagayan has affected 316,520 individuals in 26 municipalities.

Cagayan police on Sunday reported that 10 people have been confirmed dead due to the typhoon. John Ezekiel J. Hirro