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Impact Stories

Power from the Forest, Power from the Printed Word

Posted on March 23, 2015

Project Title: Power from the Forest: Politics of Logging in the Philippines
Year: 1993
Grant Type: Responsive
Proponent: Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ)


“You tell Marites Vitug to stop writing or papatayin s'ya [she'll be killed]," warned an anonymous caller at the Manila Chronicle newsroom one October morning in 1988. Newsbreak magazine editor Marites Dañguilan-Vitug was then a freelance political reporter ¬who was writing stories on logging being done in the provinces of lsabela and Palawan. These were published by the newly revived Manila Chronicle, then staffed by ace journalists whose training in news reportage was honed under the repressive conditions of the martial law period.1


The following month, an in-depth report, which Vitug co-wrote (with James Clad), was featured in the Far Eastern Economic Review (FEER). It mapped out the empire of Philippine timber tycoon Jose "Pepito" Alvarez and exposed his relationship with Palawan Congressman Ramon "Monching" Mitra. This time she was slapped with a PhP 26-million libel suit.2

Apparently, what made Vitug's articles threatening to people was that she looked at environmental issues from the point of view of an investigative reporter, inquiring into peoples' motives. Her curiosity soon led her to the question, Why are big name politicians into logging? She was familiar with the names for she grew up in Nueva Ecija and she knew, too, who were logging in nearby provinces, such as Cagayan and lsabela, in the North. After digging up various environmental stories, she soon found the answer. "Patronage politics," she said. "Marcos even gave logging concessions to MNLF rebel returnees." She would soon realize that "environment is never separate from politics."3 But what she was most keen to know was how did Marcos do it? How did he use the logging industry to gain more loyalty from his people and further strengthen his political power? "Knowing how Marcos could do that was the key," she said. And thus began her quest.

In 1992, she started putting all that she had uncovered into what is generally considered her ground-breaking book, “The Politics of Logging: Power from the Forest." Published in 1993 by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ}, the book received the 1993 Philippine National Book Award for Journalism, a yearly award handed out by the Manila Critics Circle. It received funding from the Foundation for the Philippine Environment and the Ford Foundation. 

"It got positive local reviews and from all over, including the International Herald Tribune," recalled Vitug. "The reviews said the book had new information – that there's new data." 

"I didn't get sued for this book," Vitug said. She didn't get any death threats, either.4 Earlier, in 1991, Vitug had received the Courage Award from the International Women's Media Foundation for her investigative articles. "That award saved me and gave me some protection," she said. "And it inspired me to do other investigations.''5

Breaking New Ground

Power from the Forest is a journalist's account of how Philippine forest resources were decimated over time. It put together information culled from interviews and official government documents not readily available then. "There was no one local book on Philippine forestry," Vitug said. "Up to that time," Senator Orly Mercado recalled, "my sources were disparate and not well organized."6 Mercado advocated for a total commercial log ban in Congress during the early 1990s.

The book investigates the link between politics and logging.

Luckily, her research work for the book coincided with DENR7 Secretary Fulgencio "Jun" Factoran's term. Taking over the reins of the DENR during the post-Marcos period, he declared a transparency policy. "I opened the doors of DENR to everybody," Factoran recalls. "But Marites was the one who took full advantage of it.”8

Indeed, Vitug poured over volumes of data to put together the story of how politics ruined the forest. Her ten-chapter book cited 171 sources including newspapers, magazines, academic papers, unpublished articles, books, and even video clips of politicians being interviewed by CNN.9

It was also the first book that ever delved on logging in the Philippines before, during, and shortly after Ferdinand Marcos' repressive rule. "It's an exposé," said Dean Antonio Contreras of the De La Salle University. "But a lot of these, we already knew in the academic and forestry sector. We knew who were the politicians involved in illegal logging.”10

Power from the Forest discussed violations committed against forest laws, and how these violators were protected by politicians, the military and even the New People's Army (NPA).11

Sheila Coronel, who served as PCIJ Executive Director for ten years until 2006, said: "The book was the first comprehensive effort to look at the politics of logging in the Philippines. It gave the broad picture but also named names."12

Vitug's mastery of journalistic prose made the book a compelling read and the issue of forest degradation understandable to the ordinary reader. The book used stories to illustrate how people in power profited from the forest, and how the small and weak lost theirs. Her training as a journalist came in handy, especially in putting faces to ideas. She said, "I wanted it to become as accessible as possible even to other journalists, to students."13

Vitug approached forestry issues from the point of view of an investigative journalist. Investigative reporting, according to author Silvio Waisbord, publicizes information about a wrongdoing that affects public interest, such that "denunciations result from the work of the reporter rather than information leaked to newsrooms."14 It requires doing intensive research and doggedly following leads, sniffing sources and carefully piecing together information gathered.

During the martial law period, the Philippine media existed under extreme repressive conditions. Journalists who criticized the government were often accused of being subversive: a number were imprisoned, some were even charged and tried by military courts. These were the conditions that staged Vitug's training as a journalist.

The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ)

Vitug conducted her investigative reportage for this book from the institutional platform of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, an independent, non-profit media agency. It was founded in 1989 by nine Filipino journalists, including Vitug, "who realized, from their years on the beat and at the news desk, the need for newspapers and broadcast agencies to go beyond day-to-day reportage."15

PCIJ was founded on the premise that "the media could-and should-be a catalyst for social debate and consensus that would redound to the promotion of public welfare. To do so, the media must provide citizens with the bases for arriving at informed opinions and decisions."16 Thus, it provided writing fellowships to enable writers to produce investigative reports. It has received multiple awards for its outstanding achievements in the field of investigative journalism, including nine National Book Awards, a Catholic Mass Media Award, and more than two dozen awards and citations from the Jaime V. Ongpin Awards for Investigative Journalism.17 Prior to this project, the PCIJ had already published several books.18 Vitug served as PCIJ Executive Director from 1990 to 1991.

Writing about the Forest

The book's publication could not have come at a more perfect time. The country was just recovering from the shock of the 1991 Ormoc disaster that killed 4,000 people and left thousands homeless due to floods largely blamed on logging.19 Congress was debating the passage of a law that would enforce a total log ban in the country. Lobby groups, concerned about the economic repercussions of such a measure, pushed instead for a selective commercial log ban. 

In her introduction to the book, Vitug wrote, "In the aftermath of the Ormoc floods, many were quick to blame illegal logging for the devastation. In reality, the disaster was caused by deforestation – the result of decades-old government land use policies, the conversion of forest land to agriculture and logging."20 She also said that she decided to write about the forests "because they are the most ravaged of the country's natural resources."21

Vitug said she tried to weave the following main points in her book: several forces contributed to deforestation, such as government, private timber concessionaires, politicians, military officers and the NPA (indirectly); the causes of deforestation are mixed, traced to land use policies of old; the Timber Licensing Agreement (TLA) system is flawed; there is an alternative to the TLA system, such as community-managed forest; cultural communities have the right to their ancestral land, and they will nurture the forests as they had done before; and the overall atmosphere for environmental NGOs is favorable. 


Deforestation due to logging and conversion of forest land to agriculture is often the cause of most flood disasters in the country. (Vitaliano Nañagas II)

The book's target audiences were policy makers, government planners, advocacy groups, colleges and Universities, non-government organizations (local and foreign), data-bank libraries as well as concerned individuals.22 Asked why she decided to write the book Vitug said, "(At first) I just wanted the ordinary public to know what really happened. And then I said to myself, it would be better if policy makers read this and could do something; and the NGOs are able to learn from it."23

A description of the book's chapters already reveals the thoroughness of Vitug's investigation:

  • Chapter 1. The Politics of Disaster opens with memories of the tragic floods that hit Ormoc in 1991. "This chapter is meant to illustrate the present and what could become of various towns and cities if denudation of the forests continues."
  • Chapter 2. Years of Plunder illustrates that the causes of the disaster are not at all recent. Looking back at the history of deforestation, it puts "great emphasis on the Marcos years where the plunder was massive and blatant."
  • Chapter 3. Fighting for Life tackles the Aquino administration's efforts "to recover lost gains in forest protection and the shaping of policies."
  • Chapter 4. The Senate's Wake-Up Call features "the intense debates in the Senate on whether to ban commercial logging or not."
  • Chapter 5. Loggers in Congress gives an inside view of "the vested interests in Congress, and shows why the log ban bill has limited chances of becoming part of the law of the land."
  • Chapter 6. Soldiers in the Woods looks at "illegal logging by members of the Armed Forces, as well as how the military is using ecology to help win the war against the insurgents."
  • Chapter 7. Defenders and Raiders of the Forests show "the guerrillas’ dilemma as they try to protect their base, the forests, yet at the same time, make money by taxing the logging companies."
  • Chapter 8. Land, the Source of Life explores the world of tribal communities as "victims struggling to own their ancestral land even as they are driven away by timber concessionaires."
  • Chapter 9. The Road to the Future tackles "the alternative to the timber license agreement or TLA system: forest managed by communities."
  • Chapter 10. The Distant Green Years points out "sources of hope: an aware public, active non-government organizations and an environment-friendly natural resources secretary."

The book has four appendices comprising 60 pages of the 280-page book: (1) Timber License Agreements in all regions in the country including ARMM;24 (2) NPA "Taxpayers" (i.e. logging concessionaires) and Amount/Logistics Given to Rebels in Various Instances (as of 1990); (3) Industrial Tree Plantations/Industrial Forest Management Agreements in Region I to XII (as of June 30, 1992); and (4) Areas Covered by the Log Ban or Logging Moratorium, which indicated the affected areas, and how the ban was imposed, including the date of order.

It also features a Glossary that enumerates the names of all the 191 individuals – politicians, loggers, scholars, etc. – mentioned in the book, and a brief description of their identities. The last section is devoted to a list of Acronyms used in the book, with 91 entries.

Exposing the Politics

Power from the Forest made an important contribution to the study of Philippine forestry, providing valuable reference material for academic research and policy analysis. According to Contreras, the book was required reading at the UPLB College of Forestry Graduate School. "I was teaching forest policy; that's why I found this book very useful," he said. "Usually, we discuss the book in the context of characteristics of rent-seeking processes. Politicians would enter the economic domain and in the process violate laws. It also showed evidence of the State's failure to implement policies because of the intervention of the members of the elite, who may have crafted the laws themselves."25

Vitug recalls that when the reviews came out, a number of foreign students and researchers met with her at different times. "They did their own research," says Vitug. "One researcher was from Princeton, one from Harvard... I think it was helpful for people in the academe. They were the ones who came to interview me. Then, they would look for the sources; they would interview former DENR Secretary Jun Factoran, and other former officials like Delfin Ganapin."26

Indeed, keying in the book's title in Google and Yahoo search engines would turn out studies and papers citing the book and/or Marites Vitug. Critics agree that one major contribution of the book was the links it made between politics and environmental degradation. Scholars writing papers on Philippine forestry, for example, would refer the book to show how politicians, the military and logging concessionaires were complicit in illegal logging and in decimating the forests.

"Foresters in government also agreed with Vitug's contentions in the book," according to Director Romeo Acosta of the Forest Management Bureau (FMB). "People in the forestry sector already knew much about the stories Vitug wrote about," Acosta said. "It was about time these things were revealed."

Acosta had been with the DENR (or the Ministry of Natural Resources) since the Marcos administration as a young economist and forester. "We ourselves have been having problems with our decisions being influenced here. They twist your arm; they threaten you with losing your job, of not getting your budget [request from] Congress," says Acosta.27

For environmentalists, the book was an important aid in policy advocacy as it presented a strong and solid evidence to back up their analysis and policy positions.

"The timely publication of the book in 1993 ... was an intelligent contribution to the polemics of the day," recalls former Senator Orlando Mercado.28 “Marites Dañguilan-Vitug's excellent work gave both serious policy wonks as well as the general public, a historical and strategic perspective of the issue. She did not only organize data on the issue, she made us understand the deeply rooted power dynamics of forest resource exploitation. People got to know who really benefits from the exploitation of our tragically doomed ecosystem. In part, it explains why I may have won the debate in the Senate, but was constantly undermined in the House of Representatives."29

Von Hernandez,30 who was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2003 and appeared on Time Magazine's list of "Heroes of the Environment" in October 2007, recalls, "When this (book) came out, it was a big boost to the campaign." Hernandez worked as Mercado's point person for environmental agenda at the time. He was also active in the Green Coalition advocacy and lobby work. "(The book) validated a lot of the things that we could not openly articulate... Meaning to say, actual connections by logging interests inside Congress," he recalls. "I think (this book) unearthed and exposed those connections."31

Stirring Reactions

These accolades notwithstanding, some politicians and people in the forestry sector found the book objectionable, claiming it has deficiencies.

"Senator Juan Ponce Enrile32 reacted to the book because I think he was also cited for his connections in Samar. Even Senator Heherson Alvarez33 was not very happy," recalls Hernandez. "In the House of Representatives, I don't think there was any reaction. I think they preferred to stay quiet, doing their best to divert the issue and making sure that the debate did not really manifest in the Lower House."

Vitug narrates, "I got a call from the Office of President Fidel Ramos. They said, they – not the President but his legal counsel Antonio Carpio (who became Supreme Court Justice in 2001) – wanted to meet with me about the book," recalled Vitug. "Tony Carpio said he just wanted to explain things to me since I didn't get the side of the President," recalls Vitug. "He said that Ramos' father was only an incorporator of the logging company. He did not operate (the logging concession), etcetera, etcetera."34 Vitug recalls telling Carpio, "The problem is the book was already out and there are no plans to revise it."

As for the officials of the Philippine Wood Producer Association {PWPA), they thought the book was unfair," Vitug says, recalling the reaction of Atty. Tony Olizon, head of the PWPA, when they met at a gathering shortly after the book came out. "But they didn't write (to officially express their misgivings about the book)... They were the most unhappy and dissatisfied with the book."35

In an interview fourteen years after the book was published, Olizon apparently still feels the pangs. "The way it was written, it seemed like having a (logging) concession is not so clean. If that is the (point she wants) to drive at, she should also criticize (kailangan birahin mo rin pala si) Ayala for having so much land."

PWPA is the national association of corporations, partnerships and individuals involved in the timber industry, which includes logging, forest plantation development, manufacturing of lumber, veneer and plywood and other downstream value-added wood products, as well as the trading of these products. Its website states that the vision-mission of PWPA is "geared toward both managing the forest and developing the wood-based industry on productively sustainable basis in order to have them serve their ecological, social and economic ends."36

Leonardo Angeles, PWPA Executive Director, expresses his frustration over the book. "The book seemed to have zeroed in on the destruction aspect on the forest resources. The constructive aspect of it was not highlighted. She didn't mention the bulk of the companies who are law abiding and who followed the rules and regulations to the letter."36

"It wasn't also mentioned in the book that there was a group of conscientious foresters who tried to formulate PD 705, signed by Marcos, to put order and rationality in the forestry and wood industry," notes Angeles. He said that behind this was a group called the Presidential Commission on Wood Industry Development formed by Marcos, of which Angeles was a part. "What appears is that we didn't follow any law then.... Unfortunately, this got circumvented."37

Angeles disagrees with the notion that being a politician and being involved in logging is anomalous. "There are politicians who are good concessionaires. They do good things." He feels that the "sins of the few who are medyo luko-loko talaga" (who are really rather dubious fellows) were highlighted in the book and used to justify the book's premise that logging is politicized."

Asked whether they agree with the book's contention that logging concessionaires are backed up by politicians, Olizon shrugs, "Well, that's business." Angeles agrees, "What business is without backing by a politician?"

When reminded that Vitug had pointed out that contracts were still renewed even if logging concessionaires violated the law, Olizon remarks, "(It's a) matter of enforcement. Maybe during the time of Marcos." Angeles adds, "We can agree with that, perhaps. Even if you did not have a violation, they would charge you with one because of the intention to get this thing (logging concession) and share it with others."

Do they agree that during the time of Marcos, logging was used for political patronage? Olizon replies, "Not only logging, (but) including coconut, sugar, etc." Angeles points out, "In some instances, yes. At that time magulo (chaotic)... Anyway the whole country was magulo, eh."

PWPA officials attribute what they perceive as a slant against commercial logging to •the nature of journalism. "Forgive me for saying this (but in journalism)," says Olizon, "it's always the bad news that makes good news." He recalls that when the book came out, "One major reaction among PWPA members was that the study was incomplete."38 Many of their members "felt hurt" and feared that the name of the families could be destroyed. Worse, it could even cause a problem within the family of a commercial logger. "Assuming if a PWPA member's daughter was required in school to read the book, what would the child think of the father?" asks Olizon. "Pa, ganoon pala ang ginagawa mo, ang pinagpapaaral mo sa akin? (Dad, is this how you earn the money to send me to school?) They wouldn't be able to rebut what was written in the book," he said.

In the chapter Loggers in Congress, Vitug laments that a bill pushing for a ban on commercial logging will not prosper precisely because "some of the congressmen own logging companies while others, who are lawyers, have had logging firms as clients."39

Vitug thus makes explicit the ties that link politics and the environment: "In the 1960s, during the heyday of the logging industry, it was not unusual for loggers to go into local and national politics. To a great extent, the presence of loggers in Congress demonstrated the traditional ties between political power and access to the country's natural resources. Like other businessmen, they entered politics to protect and expand their businesses. Loggers often represented Mindanao and northern Luzon, the timber-rich areas in the country."40

Naming Names and Disclosing Interests


Loggers have a stake in the country's politics, and that is, to protect their business interests. But what is really at stake when it comes to the forest issue is the country's future. 

"You really cannot replace the natural forest," argues Von Hernandez, who used to be with the Task Force Commercial Log Ban in the 1990s. "Once you destroy it, that's irreplaceable. You can do reforestation, but you will not be able to capture the biodiversity and the essence of the original forest even in terms of ecological services, e.g., habitats, water retention, etc. We are talking here of intact forests, and our framework is that intact forests should not be logged." Moreover, logging should only be allowed in tree plantations. He, however, laments that tree plantation businesses want to be located beside natural forests. "So they still have access to natural forests," he says. "The situation is very tenuous."

Hernandez says that their experience in the campaign for a total commercial log ban confirms the "really well-entrenched interest in Congress that favors commercial logging." "Even up to now," he emphasizes, "we still don't have a total commercial log ban. And we've reached a point where the forest cover of the country is already at three percent, based on an Asian Development Bank report."

Both Hernandez and Acosta stress the importance of delineating forest lands. "In fact, in the bill that we were championing at that time, that was one of the key features," Hernandez explains. "And then while that delineation is happening, the ban should be in place. So any timber that moves or comes out from the natural forest should be declared illegal." Hernandez continues, "Even up to now, they put a commercial ban in most parts of the country except in areas where there is still forest cover left, like in Mindanao, for example. And then, in Aurora, because of the flash floods, they were forced to declare a ban on logging. But, they allowed this again. Loggers were once again given permits."41

Hernandez recalls Power from the Forest as one of those books that explored early on the connection between environment and politics – how the environment was being sacrificed to serve interests of the political elite. "A lot of the plunder has happened without people knowing how all this took place," Hernandez says. "I don't remember reading earlier studies that really went into Vitug's level of detail."

He believes in making public officials account for their actions. And that means disclosing one's business connections and divesting, if there is conflict of interest, as the law requires. "I think it's just consistent with public accountability principles that should guide public service."

"Naming names," stresses Hernandez, "was needed to shame and expose those who were obstructing policy reforms because they were protecting vested interests. Of course, we would have been happier if out of this the people who were involved felt, at least, a certain degree of shame."

"Furthermore," says Hernandez, "naming names would explain where people are really coming from, what interests they were protecting. It wasn't simply a technical debate. (Senator) Alvarez, for example, was trying to package it as some kind of a scientific debate; that selective logging is superior to total log ban because he says old growth forests had to be logged from time to time because the trees there just die. But this book went beyond to elevate that to the core level of money, politics and power. Indeed, there is power from the forest."

Hernandez recalls the debates in congress in the 1990s were eventually framed as a choice between total log ban and selective commercial log ban. "But behind that was how the forests were parceled out to families and to cronies. And the rate at which deforestation took place was just amazing. I think this is one of the books that really dealt with that aspect of the problem: how crony politics decimated the forest; and how that continued after the Marcos years."

Acosta recalls that during the Senate hearings after the Ormoc tragedy, a member of the Congress accused DENR of abetting illegal logging. The truth was the family members of this Congressman were the owners of the biggest hacienda in that watershed. He explains that the whole watershed is private land titled in 1950s to a single family. "So those who were very noisy in the media saying 'Illegal logging, illegal logging!' – they actually owned that land. There was nothing to log there anymore because they logged it during the war or before the war, then turned it into sugar plantation-all 4,000 hectares of it."

"There were a lot of Congressional hearings so we had to be there," recalls Acosta. "So when I said to the Congressman who was chairing the committee, 'Mr Chairman, your Honor, can I submit to the committee a list of the landowners of that watershed?' he said, 'No naming of names.' That's because they belong to the same political party."42

The Investigative Journalist: Putting Faces to Ideas

"Actually, what inspired me to write this was a foreign book," recalls Marites Vitug, "by a journalist doing a story that doesn't just concern journalism, but issues that affect national policy."

Having gained access to a lot of information as an investigative journalist, Vitug felt the need to "show how powerful people destroy the environment." She could tell stories "because that's the training of a journalist. You tell a story, you put faces to ideas," she said. She also wanted to address a larger audience, thus, the narrative or anecdotal style of writing.

One of the first journalists to access DENR records after the Marcos regime, she found "a treasure trove" of information. It was an exciting time. Sec Jun Factoran "just opened everything, which was good. He wasn't afraid that I might find out something. Everyone cooperated, including the military with the NPA data. That was my advantage at the time." 'Even the loggers allowed me to interview them. I was surprised as they were quite open (with the information)."

The links between politics and the environment are now common knowledge. But the struggle to protect the little that is left of the forests is far from over. At present, government has imposed a selective ban on commercial logging, even as Hernandez complains that natural forests continue to be logged.

However, an attempt to bring back forestry issues to national focus will only be successful if it is able to challenge strongly held concepts about the forest as source of timber, not to mention their motives in holding on to them. And this is where Power from the Forest succeeded most. By digging and putting together details of ownership of logging concessions and tales of political backing of illegal activities, it questioned the dominant notion that forest resources may be used to serve one's political or economic interests – whatever the consequences.

The book's opening account of the Ormoc tragedy forced the nation to wake up to the reality that the forest is a vital part of a greater ecological system that nurtures and protects human life. Prior to the book's publication, the commercial loggers and politicians mentioned in the book perceived the forest as an economic commodity. Up to its appendices section, the book named names- people and companies responsible for extracting – and supposedly protecting – forest resources.

All these information had an impact on environmentalists and commercial loggers alike. To the former, the book served as "a weapon" in arguing their case and source of inspiration in advocating their cause. To the latter, it made them more cautious in their business operations and more .conscious of their image in the media. While the commercial loggers were far from happy with the book, the idea that their actions could be documented and exposed by an outsider continues to make them sensitive to public perception of the wood industry. The key issue is accountability- making them accountable to the public for their actions.

Power from the Forest demonstrates that a book project placed in the hands of a highly capable and committed writer can reveal the ''power of the printed word," to expose what is hidden and challenge the status quo.

It has been years now since the book was published. Many investigative reports have come out in the media linking the highest public officials in the country to corruption. For a people sometimes criticized for not remembering, a book that tells of how things were would provide succeeding generations with a bridge to the past. Indeed, it can be said that without Power from the Forest, the tales of how the forest was plundered – however "widely known" among foresters – would never have been told. 



2 The libel suit from the FEER article was dropped five years after it was filed. See www.iwmf.grg and>
3 Marites Dañguilan-Vitug. Interview with Rey Abella. 27 July 2007.
4 Ibid.
5 Retrieved from
6 Former Senator Orlando Mercado. Email interview with Rey Abella. 17 September 2007.
7 Department of Environment and Natural Resources~
8 Former Secretary Fulgencio Facto ran. Interview with Rey Abella. 04 October 2007.
9 Dañguilan-Vitug, Marites. Power from the Forest: The Politics of Logging, PCIJ: Philippines, 1993. 195-203.
10 Dean Antonio Contreras. Interview with Rey Abella. 31 August 2007.
11 The guerrilla arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines. Retrieved 15 August 2008,
12 Sheila Coronel. Email interview with Rey Abella. 08 September 2007.
13 Marites Dañguilan-Vitug. Interview.
14 Silvio Waisbord, PhD, has been Senior Program Officer at AED Center for Global Health Communication and Marketing since 2002. Presently, he is the Advocacy and Communication Advisor for the USAID-funded Africa's Health in 2010 Project. He is the author and co-editor of four books and numerous articles on development communication, journalism, and health. Retrieved 04 December 2008,
15 Retrieved from
16 "A Book Project on the Politics of Logging," Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism. 1991.
17 Ibid.
18 "Kudeta" (1990), "Saving the Earth: The Philippine Experience" (1991), and "1992 and Beyond: Forces and Issues in Philippine Elections." Retrieved from
19 Dañguilan-Vitug, Marites. Power from the Forest: The Politics of Logging, 1-8.
20 Ibid, 2-3.
21 Ibid.
22 "A Book Project on the Politics of Logging," 1991.
23 Marites Dañguilan-Vitug. Interview.
24 The Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao in Southern Philippines is the region of the Philippines that is composed of all the Philippines' predominantly Muslim provinces, namely: Basilan (except Isabela City), Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Shariff Kabunsuan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, and the Philippines' only predominantly Muslim city, the Islamic City of Marawi.
25 Dean Antonio Contreras. Interview. 31 August 2007.
26 Marites Dañguilan-Vitug. Interview. 27 July 2007
27 Forest Management Bureau Director Romeo Acosta. Interview with Rey Abella. 14 August 2007.
28 Mercado was senator from 1987 to 1998.
29 Orlando Mercado. Email interview with Rey Abella. 17 September 2007.
30 Campaigns Director, Greenpeace Asia.
31 Von Hernandez. Interview with Rey Abella. 31 August 2007.
32 Juan Ponce-Enrile served in the Philippine Senate from 1987 to 1992 and from 1995 to 2001. In 2004, he was elected to the 13th Congress. 
33 Marites Dañguilan-Vitug. Interview. 27 July 2007.
34 Ibid.
35 Retrieved from
36 Ibid.
37 Ibid.
38 Ibid.
39 Dañguilan-Vitug, Marites. Power from the Forest: The Politics of Logging, 86.
40 Ibid, 86.
41 Von Hernandez. Interview. 31 August 2007 .
42 Romeo Acosta. Interview. 14 August 2007. 


(Contributed by Rey Abella and Aida Jean Nacpil Manipon)

* * * * *

Originally published in Manipon AJN and Mesina SR. 2009. “Communities, Conservation, and the Filipino Environmentalist.” Quezon City, Philippines: Foundation for the Philippine Environment.

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