Environmental compliance, and why it killed 1,800 people in Leyte, Philippines

Mudslide casualties now at 1,800

The irony of illegal logging is that it's illegal, yet it's still happening. If you look at our laws, the Philippines has one of the most progressive environmental laws in the area, if not in Asia or the world, but trees continue to be cut, our rivers continue to be polluted, and our air--well, lung diseases are a top killer, and you definitely don't want to drive in Manila without air-conditioning.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (the DENR) is supposed to be the czar of environmentalism; it's also considered one of the most corrupt agencies in the government. One of my banking functions was to help clients get specially funded loans, and one of their requirements is an Environmental Compliance Certificate (an ECC) from the DENR. Among us banks, that ECC is a joke; it's a paper companies apply for as one of the loan requirements and almost never follow-up on, or comply with (except for the rare ones where environmental awareness is actually part of corporate philosophy). If anyone deserved to die in those mudslides, it was the loggers who made the slides possible.

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