Last update:

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].

See more
Basic Data
Name of conflict:Southwood Timber Corporation’s logging activities on ancestral lands, Misamis Oriental, Philippines
State or province:Misamis Oriental
Location of conflict:Gingoog 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 :Deforestation
Land acquisition conflicts
Logging and non timber extraction
Specific commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

According 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].

See more
Project area:11,476
Level of Investment:unknown
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:several thousands
Start of the conflict:23/05/2008
Company names or state enterprises:Southwood Timber Corporation (STC) from Philippines - timber, logging
Asia Pacific Timber Corporation (APTCO) from Philippines - timber, forestry
Relevant government actors:Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)
Local Government Unit (LGU) of Gingoog City
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Legal 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)
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
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 mobilization:Community-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
Impacts of the project
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
Other Health impactshealth impacts from increasing floods and storms
Socio-economical 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
Conflict outcome / response:Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
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 alternatives:Local communities and EJO Kalikasan wants the complete cancellation of the forestry permit, considered as illegal.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain: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
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

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]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[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]

[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]

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
Contributor:A. Scheidel (ICTA-UAB) / arnim "dot" scheidel "at" gmail "dot" com
Last update05/06/2015
Legal notice / Aviso legal
We use cookies for statistical purposes and to improve our services. By clicking "Accept cookies" you consent to place cookies when visiting the website. For more information, and to find out how to change the configuration of cookies, please read our cookie policy. Utilizamos cookies para realizar el análisis de la navegación de los usuarios y mejorar nuestros servicios. Al pulsar "Accept cookies" consiente dichas cookies. Puede obtener más información, o bien conocer cómo cambiar la configuración, pulsando en más información.