• Melo Acuna

Government needs to implement pro-environment, pro-people programs

IBON claims government priorities enrich a few but destroy the environment

MANILA – Research group IBON Foundation said instead of going after local politicians, the Duterte government should take responsibility for pushing anti-environment politics which added the recent massive flooding and inundation of communities brought by typhoon “Ulysses.”

In a statement, IBON said the National Irrigation Administration and Malacañang cited local officials involved in logging and mining.

“But this will be hypocritical,” said the group should the government fail to reverse policies that degrade the environment and benefitting just a few.

They reported the country’s forest cover fell to 7 million hectares as of 2015 per report from the Forest Management Bureau, which is equivalent to only 24% of the country’s total land area, described an “environmentally-critical level.”

According to the statement, it used to be 11 million hectares during the 1970s and forest destruction peaked because of the government-sponsored unbridled logging. They also cited data from the Bureau of Soil and Water Management that show 70.5% of the country’s land area is categorized as severely degraded and 16.6% as moderately degraded.

IBON claimed the government’s “Build, Build, Build” and the National Land Use Plan continue to encroach into the public domain and degrade land.

They also claimed the government continues to promote large-scale mining, corporate and chemical plantations and land use conversion together with reclamation for real estate and infrastructure.

“The government prioritizes the building of large dams, megaports, ecotourism complexes and export enclaves,” they said.

The research group claimed government policies and programs enrich a few at the expense of the nation, the people and the environment. They identified the biggest gainers from the government including business outfits of the Sy, Villar, Gokongwei, Razon, Ayala, Tan, Caktiong, Ang and Ty.

They are into real estate, construction, ports development, power, energy, water, oil, mining and agriculture business.

“The Philippine government’s bias for profit-seeking interests even at the expense of the environment are the root causes of logging, quarrying and land conversion in Rizal and Cagayan provinces that caused devastating floods. Deforestation, flooding and the sufferings of communities will continue unless these are stopped and corrective measures are taken,” IBON concluded. (Melo M. Acuña)





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