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Sudecors’ corporate logging activities and illegal logging in Mindanao, Philippines

Legal and illegal logging, environmental destruction, attacks and extrajudicial killings: Social tensions increase over the use of natural resources within Sudecor’s forest concession.


Surigao Development Corporation (Sudecor) is one of the oldest and largest Philippine logging and forestry companies, owned by the economically and politically influential Puyat family. Sudecor is active in Mindanao since 1959 [1], where it was granted a new Integrated Forestry Management Agreement (IFMA) in 2009, amounting to no less than 75,671ha of forest area. The company’s activities faced opposition for contributing to environmental destruction, due to intensive logging methods such as the destructive bulldozer-dragging method. It became become target of anti-logging campaigns by some indigenous groups [2], while other indigenous Manobos have been in conflict with the company, as it operates on their ancestral lands, and did not comply with set agreements [3].

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Sudecors’ corporate logging activities and illegal logging in Mindanao, Philippines
State or province:Surigao del Sur
Location of conflict:Municipalities of Madrid, Carmen, Lanuza, Cortes, Tandag, Tago and San Miguel
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:

Sudecor began its operation in Mindanao back in 1959, through a Timber License Agreement (TLA) [1].

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Project area:75,671
Level of Investment:unknown
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:several thousands
Start of the conflict:2006
Company names or state enterprises:Surigao Development Corporation (Sudecor) (SUDECOR) from Philippines - logging, forestry
Jeroking Enterprise from Philippines - manufacturing, timber
Relevant government actors:Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Kahugpungan sa Tribong Mamanwa ug Manobo, Kalasag and Yudong
Green Mindanao Association Inc
Diocese of Tandag’s Social Action Center (SAC)
Caraga Watch
Lovers of Nature Foundation Incorporated
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
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Religious groups
Indigenous Manobo tribes
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Property damage/arson
Threats to use arms
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Other Environmental impacts
Potential: Air pollution, Food insecurity (crop damage), Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Other Environmental impactsincreasing floods from deforestation during rainy season
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Other Health impacts
Potential: Accidents, Deaths
Other Health impactsin the Philippines, there was a general increase of deaths or injured persons due to floods caused by deforestation
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Violations of human rights, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Specific impacts on women
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Corruption
Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Institutional changes
New legislation
Violent targeting of activists
Project temporarily suspended
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:There was a logging ban, however after the ban, illegal logging increased and anti illegal logging leaders were killed. There haven't been any news that illegal logging has been stopped.
Sources and Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

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

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

[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[1] Sudecor presentation during the 9th HRSD Conference and Exhibit. Available at (accessed 20/05/2015)
[click to view]

[2] online (04/05/2013): "Fight vs illegal logging seen in murder of Manobo chieftain" (accessed 20/05/2015)
[click to view]

[3] PIPLINKS online (16/09/2010); "IPs block roads leading to logging company in Surigao Sur" (accessed 20/05/2015)
[click to view]

[4] online (08/12/2006): "Gov't Procedures Viewed by Mindanao Indigenous Communities as Pro-Mining" (accessed 20/05/2015)
[click to view]

[5] GMANEWS online (13/11/2009): "12 killed, another dozen hurt in Surigao clash" (accessed 20/05/2015)
[click to view]

[6] Briefer on Executive Order No. 23 s. 2011, declaring a national moratorium on logging natural and residual forests (accessed 20/05/2015)
[click to view]

[7] Mindanews online (17/09/2012): "WHERE HAVE ALL THE FORESTS GONE? Illegal logging intensifies in Surigao Sur despite total log ban" (accessed 20/05/2015)
[click to view]

[9] online (17/09/2012): "Illegal loggers win in log ban’s weak enforcement" (accessed 20/05/2015)
[click to view]

Other documents

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

Forest concession map Source:
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:A. Scheidel (ICTA-UAB) / arnim "dot" scheidel "at" gmail "dot" com
Last update05/06/2015
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