Green groups on the 3rd death anniversary of Dr. Gerry Ortega

We continue the movement for justice, we continue Dr. Gerry Ortega’s
legacy to the environment

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

24 January 2014

The Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment commemorates today
the third death anniversary of Dr. Gerry Ortega, a staunch defender of
the environment and a seeker of truth. Three years after being felled by
an assassin’s bullet for taking Palawan’s coddlers of big mining and
corruption to task, justice remains elusive for Dr. Gerry Ortega and his
family and we continue to demand that the perpetrators of this heinous
crime be held accountable.

The facts are clear: witnesses firmly point to ex-Palawan governor Joel
Reyes and his brother, Coron mayor Mario Reyes, as the masterminds
behind the murder of Ortega. No other motive can be seen except the
desperation to silence Dr. Gerry’s exposure and opposition of
destructive large scale mining and the corruption and malversation of
funds in the Malampaya Natural Gas Project.

For three years, we have diligently supported the Ortega family in
pursuing various courses of action to land these crooks into jail. We
have challenged the administration of President Benigno Simeon Aquino
III to take decisive action in resolving the murder of Ortega and
immediately capture the fugitive Reyes brothers. Year in and year out,
we are simply met with tokenistic consolation and hollow promises of action.

Amidst the clear inaction from the Aquino government, confessed
conspirator-turned-witness Dennis Aranas was discharged from the witness
protection program and died under mysterious circumstance. The Court of
Appeals has also junked the murder case filed against the Reyes brothers
as well as Justice Secretary Leila De Lima’s Department Order 710, which
created the second panel that reviewed and eventually found basis for
the filing of charges against the Reyes brothers. The wheels of justice
have turned slowly over the past three years and have almost come to a
complete stop.

To date, Dr. Gerry Ortega is one of among 71 other environmental
advocates that have fallen victim to political killings since 2011,
precisely for opposing big extractive and pollutive companies as well as
in criticizing corruption in our government. To date, none of the cases
involving the extrajudicial killings of environmental advocates have
been resolved.

There is no giving up in the struggle to claim justice for Dr. Gerry
Ortega. But beyond the clamor for justice, there is no better way to
celebrate the life of Dr. Gerry than to continue his legacy in fighting
for our environment, especially as ecological threats to the
Philippines’ last frontier continue to rear their ugly heads.

A 25-Megawatt coal-fired power plant by the DMCI Power Corporation
threatens to pollute the agriculture areas and seriously damage
biodiversity in the municipality of Aborlan, the town where Ortega grew
up. Palawan stands to lose its status as a UNESCO-declared Man and
Biosphere due to various extractive and infrastructural projects being
implemented which are destructive to the natural environment. . Despite
the lack of acceptance from local communities, this dirty coal power
plant project is being backed by corrupt national and local government
officials. This project highlights the indisputable fact that despite
the availability of potential sources of clean, cheap and indigenous
energy sources, corporate greed and bureaucratic corruption continue to
trample over people’s needs and the welfare of the natural environment.

What would Dr. Gerry do about the DMCI coal-fired power plant if he was
still with us? He would definitely stand against the pollution and
corruption for which this project stands for.

Justice to Dr. Gerry Ortega and all environmental workers killed!

No to DMCI Coal Power Plant in Palawan!

Reference: Leon Dulce, campaign coordinator, Kalikasan People’s Network
for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) – 0917 562 6824

Leon Dulce
National Campaign Coordinator
Kalikasan-People’s Network for the Environment
http://www.kalikasan.org
(+63 2) 917 562 6824
http://kathangkatotohanan.wordpress.com