It rained last night, and more coming. In some ways, this is good news, because it means we don’t have to pay so much to irrigate our “dry season” crop. But it is bad news for the south, which is still recovering from the devestating storm that killed over a thousand people..

Superficially, the storm makes a good “blame global warming” story.

Story one from the Philippine Inquirer:

Climate projections for 2020 and 2050 by the weather bureau are even grimmer: The dry season would be drier and the wet season would be wetter, and the damage to crops and water sources would be far-reaching.

uh, it’s the dry season now, and raining outside. But Climate change and green PC thinking is big here among the elite, especially college students and has replaced “liberation theology” for some in the Catholic church.

It’s easy to make a vague outsider a “boogey man” than for the bishop to refuse to take money from the politician sitting in the front pew who hired a hit man to kill his rival.  (Which is why we don’t go to the fiesta mass as sponsors any more, but that’s another story).

There is a link between corruption and pollution, since a small “gift” will result in some folks looking the other way.

Which brings us to story number two, also from the Inquirer:

President Aquino has imposed a total log ban but the cutting of forest trees continues.

There are no more “legal loggers” but the cutting is being done by “illegal loggers,” sometimes called “carabao loggers.”…It is very easy to do this. The loggers are hidden by trees and shrubbery. They saw the logs into lumber and haul them to the lowlands through the use of carabaos, hence the term “carabao loggers.”…

Some loggers just leave the logs where they were cut and wait for heavy rains to wash them down the mountainsides to the rivers. These were the logs that crashed into the houses in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan and destroyed them during the massive flood before Christmas and killed thousands of people.

And of course, part of the story is complicated by those living in flood prone areas.  City officials often fail to stop such thing, and not just in third world countries: The real disaster lessons of Hurricane Katrina and many of the deaths from typhoon Ondoy in Manila were that houses were allowed to be built on flood plains.

So we have story number three from ABS-CBN:

Ramos said the local government of Cagayan de Oro should not have allowed the informal settlers to build their homes in flood-prone areas….

Ramos said that a number of victims from Cagayan de Oro were informal settlers living in Isla de Oro, a sandbar in the middle of the Cagayan River.

He said the homes of around 3,000 residents were washed out in the flashfloods.

Ramos also refuted the statements of local officials who said that they were not informed beforehand of the incoming storm…(here he says in Tagalog that all they had to do is listen to the media warnings).

Yes, pass the buck and blame someone else may not work here. It reminds me of the terrible Princess of the Stars ferry disaster, where the company blamed the government for not warning them the typhoon changed course, even though warnings were all over the local media.

Which brings us to story number four:

Mujiv Hataman, acting governor of ARMM, had fired the head of the environment and natural resources office of Lanao del Sur for failure to explain why logging persists in the province despite a ban that Hataman reissued on the day of his assumption into office and upon the directive of President Aquino….

Logging has been partly blamed for the deadliest disaster that struck the country in recent years and killed hundreds of people in the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan. The death toll is expected to reach 2,000.Massive flooding washed ashore in Iligan hundreds of logs that now dot the city’s beaches. Survivors of the disaster also recounted how logs floating in the floodwater eventually crushed scores of people.

Some politicians are playing the “blame game” trying to pin this one on our new president Aquino. Our new president, who is usually called by his nickname “PNoy” (a pun on the slang word for “Filipino”, to distinguish him from his mother, ex president Cory Aquino), has spent mush of his time fighting corruption. This makes him popular among the people, but maybe not as popular among the elites.

He is right: The first step to improve the economy is to get rid of the climate of corruption. So President Aquino is busy trying to fight corruption, but will he succeed? StrategyPage worries about him:

The government is continuing its unusually aggressive campaign against corruption. Judges are being accused of taking bribes, something that has long been known but rarely punished.

In addition to arresting former senior politicians and appointed officials, parliament recently removed the chief judge of the Supreme Court for corruption.

Most surprisingly former president Gloria Arroyo was arrested for electoral fraud and 300 police were deployed to make sure she was not freed during an operation moving her to another location. She was earlier prevented from leaving the country for medical care.

It is believed that this arrest will lead to a major political battle which could be accompanied by gunfire and bombs. The many corrupt politicians and officials are mounting a legal and public relations campaign against the anti-corruption campaign.

Just to complicate matters is the problem that most of the “elite” families are related to each other, and in the Philippines, family ties are important. That is why I suspect global warming is PC among the urban elite here: because it allows them to feel self righteous by pointing fingers at the developed world instead of bothering to point fingers to the real problems, such as the corruption that allows illegal logging or doesn’t bother to dredge silt from flood prone rivers.

Ironically, Mining and logging could be sources of much needed jobs, but such legal operations are opposed by the “greens” because they know from experience that you can get around environmental regulations with gifts to local regulators.

Yet the high unemployment in these areas actually encourages the even more dangerous and environmentally destructive “mom and pop” type small mines and logging.

That is why I am bemused at the idea of the UN sponsored global warming reparations from the developed world which are supposed to be paid to the governments of small, poor countries. When you live in a country where the bribes are “given over the table, under the table, and with the table”, it makes one wonder if these funds are popular because the usual 20 percent will end up in someone’s pockets.

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