BAGUIO

Nicholas: Putting a stop to tree cutting

The Greater Good

WE COULD not believe the Baguio City headlines time after time in recent months: "Tree cutting and more tree cutting!" Public outcries were heard from all directions.

The bottom line: How can tree cutting be stopped?

That there are still major corporate developments going on at all defies reality! Multiple studies and key indicators report that the Metro Baguio area is overdeveloped. If this is a well-known fact, why are major corporations still being allowed to undertake new developments?

Here are some ideas for consideration to stop tree cutting.

Three rules could make a difference:

Rule #1. Stop new developments. Since no new developments should be undertaken, the first rule of stopping tree-cutting would be to stop approving new developments. No need to cut trees down if new large-scale developments are blocked. Simple.

Rule #2. A bold tax destroys the business case. This is for those cases that somehow get past Rule #1, which is no new developments. The way this tax might work is as follows:

For example, let's say that the recent development that cut over 50 trees to make way was valued at P50 Billion (US$1 Billion). The tax for that development would be 100 percent of the cost of the project or P50 Billion. If this destroys the feasibility of the project, it stops before the first tree is cut.

Rule #3. The 10x Ad Infinitum Tax. This tax is for those corporations and individuals that could afford to pay the Php50 Billion even though it lacks feasibility from a business perspective. This tax would work like this:

The corporation or individual decided it could or would pay P50 Billion under Rule #2, so then Rule #3 comes into play: P50 billion is multiplied by ten which would be P500 billion in tax. If the corporation can still afford the times-10-amount, then the times 10 rule is continuously reapplied until the corporation or individual cannot afford the tax. The tax would be multiplied ad infinitum, or indefinitely, which means no person on earth could afford to cut trees in the Metro Baguio area, not even Bill Gates.

It is disingenuous to citizens to require that a corporation only has to replant trees or double the seedlings of the old-growth trees felled. Does that cover the value and loss of old-growth trees? No one alive today will live to see new seedlings become the size of our old-growth trees. As we are out and about, every time we see these old-growth pine trees, we must remind ourselves that they are between 120 to 130 years old, which means that they were seedlings in the years around 1890 to 1900. That was before Baguio was even a city! Old-growth trees are priceless, in my humble opinion, and should be treated that way as a method of doing business.

Will there be any old-growth trees left for our children and grandchildren?


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