Southwood Timber Corporation’s logging activities on ancestral lands, Misamis Oriental, Philippines

Against deforestation and rising calamities: Indigenous groups opposing logging concession on their ancestral lands face deadly repression.


On May 23, 2008, Southwood Timber Corporation (STC) was granted an 11,476ha Integrated Forest Management Agreement (IFMA), allowing the company to log trees in Gingoog municipality, Misamis Oriental. The IFMA was endorsed by the local government [1], in spite of the fact that the IFMA was located on ancestral land domains of two indigenous people tribes, of which only one of them had provided consent to the logging project [2]. The other tribe, the Minalwang community, entitled to 8000ha of the concession land, opposed the project since the beginning, because “BABALAON”, a spirit guiding them, hadn’t provided signals to agree with the project [2].

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Basic Data
NameSouthwood Timber Corporation’s logging activities on ancestral lands, Misamis Oriental, Philippines
ProvinceMisamis Oriental
SiteGingoog municipality
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Land acquisition conflicts
Logging and non timber extraction
Specific CommoditiesLand
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsAccording to documents published by the DENR in 2010, Southwood Timber Corporation (STC) was granted an Integrated Forest Management Agreement (IFMA), IFMA-NO. 02-2008, covering 11,476 ha located in Gingoog and Claveria Municipality, Miasamis Oriental, Northern Mindanao. The IFMA was granted on May 23, 2008, with expiry date on May 23, 2033 [7].

Also the Asia Pacific Timber Corp (APTCO) has interest in continuance of the exploitation of the IFMA permit, because APTCO, a sister company of STC, is engaged in wood processing and trade/wholesale [2].

The IFMA overlaps with ancestral domains of two tribes; one is the Kamahan-Sagabalan-Higaonon Ancestral Domain Title Association (KSHADT), with representative office in in Brgy. Eureka, Gingoog city, represented by Allan Mandokita, and the second one is, Minalwang Higaonon Tribal Council (MIHITRICO) chaired by Joel P. Mansagkagan [2]. According to the Philippine Indigenous People’s Rights Act of 1997 (IPRA), any commercial project located on formally registered ancestral lands requires a (free prior informed consent (FPIC) of the involved communities.

Only the KSHADT association, of which 3,000ha of ancestral domain land overlaps with the IFMA concession area, had provided a certificate of precondition, which further may be turned into an FPIC [2].

MIHITRICO, who claims at least 8000ha of ancestral lands, located in the IFMA concession, did not provide any certificate of precondition, or FPIC [2]. MIHITRICO was granted their Certificate of ancestral Domain Title (CADT) in October 2008, after almost 8 years of application procedures. The CADT covers an area of 18,028.63ha within the Barangay Minalwang, Claveria, Misamis Oriental [4].

The potential floods and calamities that could otherwise be mitigated would affect several thousand people [1].

No information on investment size and production details could be found.
Project Area (in hectares)11,476
Level of Investment (in USD)unknown
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Populationseveral thousands
Start Date23/05/2008
Company Names or State EnterprisesSouthwood Timber Corporation (STC) from Philippines - timber, logging
Asia Pacific Timber Corporation (APTCO) from Philippines - timber, forestry
Relevant government actorsDepartment of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)

Local Government Unit (LGU) of Gingoog City
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersLegal Rights and Natural Resources Center Kasama sa Kalikasan/Friends of the Earth (LRC-KsK/FoE); Ecology care (Ecop-care); Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro City (ACDO)
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Religious groups
Minalwang Higaonon indigenous tribe
Fisher people
Forms of MobilizationCommunity-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Food insecurity (crop damage), Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Air pollution
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Potential: Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..) , Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution, Deaths
Otherhealth impacts from increasing floods and storms
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Violations of human rights, Land dispossession
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Militarization and increased police presence, Specific impacts on women, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseDeaths
Institutional changes
Strengthening of participation
Under negotiation
Violent targeting of activists
Project temporarily suspended
Death of Alberto Berting Pinagawa
There had been movements to stop the forestry permit, such as finally the endorsement of the local governmental unit. This was followed by a nationwide logging ban.
Development of AlternativesLocal communities and EJO Kalikasan wants the complete cancellation of the forestry permit, considered as illegal.
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.There was a nationwide moratorium, however there were also many losses, such as the death of the anti-logging activist. Moreover, illegal logging was generally reported to have increased since the logging ban.
Sources and Materials

FAO Review of Forestry Policies in the Philippines
[click to view]

The Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act of 1997 (IPRA)
[click to view]

[click to view]


[1] PIPLINKS online (18/12/2009): "12000 Signatures calling to cancel the “Legal Logging Permit” in Gingoog City" (accessed 14/05/2015)
[click to view]

[2] PIPLINKS online (01/02/2010): "Letter to DENR Secretary to Correct the Facts on the Gingoog Case" (accessed 14/05/2015)
[click to view]

[3] Save Minalwang Blog (accessed 14/05/2015)
[click to view]

[4] PIPLINKS online (21/04/2010): "Misamis Oriental Largest Illegal Logging is still Unresolved" (accessed 14/05/2015)
[click to view]

[5] Inside Mindanao online (27/12/2009): "Cry for justice for the death of anti–logging leader" (accessed 14/05/2015)
[click to view]

[6] Minda News online (12/01/2010): "CHR to probe murder of Higaonon leader" (accessed 14/05/2015)
[click to view]

[7] Minda News online (17/09/2012): "WHERE HAVE ALL THE FORESTS GONE? Illegal logging intensifies in Surigao Sur despite total log ban" (accessed on 19/05/2015)
[click to view]

Other Documents

List of IFMA concessions, as of March 2010 Source: DENR
[click to view]

Justice for Berting Pinagawa Source:
[click to view]

Protest march Source:
[click to view]

Protest march Source:
[click to view]

Timber logging Source:
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorA. Scheidel (ICTA-UAB) / arnim "dot" scheidel "at" gmail "dot" com
Last update05/06/2015