The State, Illegal Logging, and Environmental NGOs, in the Philippines

Julio C. Teehankee


The problems of environmental organizations cannot be disentangled from the structural problems of the society. This is demonstrated in the experiences of four emerging environmental NGOs in the Philippines, namely, Haribon Foundation, Green Forum, World Ecologists, and The Earth Savers. The goals, visions, and strategies of these organizations show how they view the state’s responses and attitudes towards environmental problems, especially illegal logging and forest denudation. The paper posits that the State, particularly the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), cannot safeguard natural resources from capitalist interests. Three main reasons are identified that hinder DENR from stopping the abuses. First, the laws meant to govern environment management activities may run counter to the economic interests of private decision-makers in particular, and of society in general. Second, the laws or regulations cannot be implemented in some instances. Third, the rules are simply not executed. DENR turned a blind-eye to rampant illegal logging by private investors. These rapacious acts have causes rapid forest denudations, heavy flooding, and landslides, which leave surrounding communities ravaged and lands depleted. Case in point is the tragic event in Ormoc, Leyte that brought massive destruction to lives and crops. But State officials tend to neglect environmental problems.
Environmental NGOs then unceasingly campaign their advocacies of alternative solutions to environmental problems. Political will is needed in order to strengthen the state capabilities as well as to rally the citizens’ support to protect the environment.


Green politics, Environment NGOs, Haribon Foundation, Green Forum, World Ecologists, The Earth Savers

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