Friday, June 24, 2016

Corruption and the environment

MomJones has an article about the killing of environmental activists.

part of it is about the killings in the Philippines, especially in the south.

 In the Mindanao region of the Philippines, a largely indigenous region flush with coal, nickel, and gold, 25 activists were murdered in 2015. The violence carries global implications—according to the IBON Foundation, foreign industries control 97 percent of all mineral production in the Philippines.

they use the "evil corporationgs vs poor people" meme, but it's actually corruption that allows this.

Corruption at the level of corporations that put profit over the environment, and the willingness of local officials to take bribes to look the other way when this is done. Then the officials use their private armies to kill those standing in the way of their corruption.

In this article, it is the local activists, but in our nephew's killing 8 years ago, it was the mayor who wanted to keep his pockets filled and paid to off his opponent (and our nephew was killed as a bystander).

Duterete plans to include left wing activists in some of his government.

one hopes he can do this without making the Philippines revert to a nice natural environment where poverty is shrugged off as eco friendly lifestyle.

And although often the NPA etc. are, like the Mafia in the US, defend the little folks from the powerful, they also, like the Mafia, are also corrupt... and collect taxes on businesses.

The NPA can raise large amounts from the Compostela Valley because of its relationship with small-scale miners. These men resist government efforts to establish larger mines, instead turning to the NPA, which approves the opening of small-scale operations. NPA regulars may even be mining themselves. The CPP, while officially opposing destruction of the environment, considers such limited extraction acceptable as it is not used for export. The NPA targets small businesses as well. The owner of a fleet of trucks transporting gravel and sand from a quarry in the Davao area pays P5,000 ($115) per year for each truck. The NPA also levied a tax of four pesos (ten cents) per kilogram on banana vendors in New Bataan in the Compostela Valley, until the military increased its presence. Other businesses may be taxed a percentage of their total profits.
“In December 2010, seven large mining companies in Caraga threatened to pull out of the region over NPA ‘taxes’, underscoring how control over resources is at stake in the conflict. According to the 4th infantry division, the NPA has increased tax levied on mining companies from P15 million ($340,000) to P20 million ($450,000) a month. The group has also demanded the firms supply computers, radios and guns...
alas, small mines are often not eco friendly, and are dangerous since there are no regulations.

Of course, although larger corporations might be regulated to prevent accidents and pollution, the dirty little secret is that regulations can be overlooked if you give a small gift.


we live in a rice growing area, so I don't know about mining in the Philippines, but a similar problem can be found in logging etc.

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