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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 December, 2004, 17:48 GMT
Philippines toll blamed on greed and under funding
A boy piggybacks his younger brother inside an evacuation centre
More than 160,000 people fled to higher ground

As powerful storms continue to lash the Philippines, the country's press blames illegal logging and the government's lack of funding for weather forecasters as major contributing factors in the high death toll.

Although many commentators urge the authorities to act to prevent similar tragedies in the future, there are glum predictions that nothing will change once the current furore dies down.

So how could a "weak" tropical depression leave so much death and destruction? Of course, there was that unlucky combination of unusually heavy rainfall coming down on soil already saturated with water. But as so many observers have pointed out, the landslides and the floods would not have been so destructive and deadly if there were still trees to store the water and hold back the soil. If further evidence is needed that illegal logging continues in the increasingly rare parts of the country where trees remain standing, all one has to do is look at the pictures of logs snagged on fallen bridges.

The Philippine Inquirer

By the time this column sees print, super Typhoon Yoyong will be bearing down upon us... For a country which is right in the path of annual storms, many packing winds and rains powerful enough to devastate large areas, it is incredible how the government has neglected the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA). What are our senators and congressmen doing with their pork? Throw a few scraps PAGASA's way, Your Honors.

The Philippine Star

Not a day passes that this government, led by an economics graduate, doesn't count the money it needs to put its fiscal house in order. But no one bothers with the humanitarian deficit - the number of lives lost or broken from grief, as houses and entire villages are swept away. And mostly not because of Violeta or Uding or Winnie, but because some greedy businessmen gouged out a mountain and short-sighted officials scrimped on funds for 10 weather radars.


Buying seven more radars worth 40m pesos can save lives. Towing some 20 illegal loggers to jail and replanting bald forest zones can also lessen suffering. These two remedial measures, which the authorities have neglected or forgotten in the last 50 years, can automatically increase GDP and all of us can boast that at least the known anomaly has been rectified.

The Manila Bulletin Online

A few days after the last typhoon exits and the flood recedes, after the debris is cleared, the dead are buried, and uprooted families trek back to their houses (if any) and pick up the pieces, the whole thing will be forgotten like a bad dream. That is, until the next calamity - and we then go again through the same routine in a never-ending loop.

The Philippine Star

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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