26 Matulungin St. Central Dist., Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, 1100
Tel./Fax; +632-920-9099 E-mail: secretariat@kalikasan.net  Website: www.kalikasan.net
24 January 2017
Green group to Duterte: Resolve Ortega’s case, address spate of environment-related killings
Quezon City —Various groups gathered in a candle lighting activity today to commemorate the 6th year death anniversary of renowned environmental martyr Dr. Gerry Ortega, where they called on the Duterte government to fast-track the resolution of Ortega’s murder case and address the spate of killings of environmental defenders under the current administration.

“As we remember the environmental heroism of Dr. Gerry Ortega, we call on the Duterte administration to hasten the jailing of the Ortega murder’s mastermind. Six years after Ortega’s brutal murder, not one of the 108 cases of environment-related killings we recorded since 2001 has been sufficiently resolved,” said Clemente Bautista, National Coordinator of Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE).

According to the monitoring of Task Force – Justice for Environment Defenders (TF-JED), a network of families and supporters of environmental martyrs, of the 108 recorded cases, 10 cases were recorded already under the current administration.

“Environment secretary Gina Lopez promised last year that she will help in probing the killings of environment defenders, but the Duterte administration has done nothing to address the worsening impunity. Almost half the recorded cases involve suspected government forces, so the Duterte administration must hold accountable its military, paramilitary and police personnel,” added Bautista.

Gerry Ortega a wildlife veterinarian, environmentalist, broadcaster in Palawan, was killed on January 24, 2011 suspected planned by former Palawan Governor Joel Reyes and his brother ex-Coron Mayor Mario over Ortega’s divulgence on the corruption in the Provincial government of Palawan on the Malampaya funds. Currently, Mario Reyes was released on bail while Joel Reyes has remained in jail.

“In 2011, Doc Gerry was posthumously awarded the GawadBayani ng Kalikasan (GBK) for his work as an environmentalist. He put his passion to practice until the very end of his life. He believed in the strength of the collective action of the people in defending their resources from the plunder of extractive corporations and corrupt bureaucrats. His work has continually inspired not only the Palaweños but also the Filipino people” said Frances Quimpo, executive director of the Center for Environmental Concerns.

GBK is an award giving body that is conducted biennially by CEC. Ortega was cited for his work as a senior veterinarian in the RP-Japan Crocodile Farming Institute at Irawan, Puerto Prinsesa, promoting the rescue and rehabilitation of crocodiles and other endemic and endangered wildlife species in the island. Additionally, he communicated his environmental advocacies especially against mining projects of MacroAsia and Rio Tuba through being a radio commentator.

“The Duterte admin should act on Ortega’s murder as an impetus to show sincerity in resolving the cases of environmental killings. Alarming increase in the number of environmentalists killed will not halt if the culture of impunity will continue to persist in our country.” ended Bautista.#

National Secretariat
Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment
26 Matulungin St. Central District, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, 1100
Tel: 02 920 90 99 | E-mail: secretariat@kalikasan.net | Site: www.kalikasan.net