A Catholic priest in the northern Philippine province of Cagayan blamed large-scale corn plantations for the flooding and landslides that have hit the region in recent months.
Monsignor Gerry Perez of St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Baggao town said “erroneous” agricultural practices are among the reasons why disasters hit the area.
“One of the major factors is the environmental damage caused by agricultural practices that destroy the environment,” the priest said in a report from CBCP News.
He lamented that while the recent flooding was the result of a “confluence of things,” the hills in the region are being converted for massive corn production.
He also blamed the use of herbicides that “loosen and weaken the soil,” adding that it has become “alarming” because many areas have been affected by landslides and erosions.
At least four people were reported killed in the town of Baggao when a landslide buried a house during the onslaught of typhoon “Ulysses” (international name: Vamco) on November 12.
The heavy rainfall caused by the typhoon inundated several areas in the provinces of Cagayan, Isabela, and other parts of Luzon, including the capital Manila.
Monsignor Perez called on the government to look into the big plantations, saying that in the town of Baggao the local government prohibits the conversion of hills into farmlands but the ordinance is not being implemented strictly.
“It is my hope that something should be done against the use of herbicides and conversion of our hill sites into corn lands,” he said.