Green activists protest, file petition vs DOJ’s terror list

Kalikasan PNE Press Release

20 April 2018

Environmentalists, indigenous people, and farmers led by the Kalikasan
People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) held a picket
protest outside the Department of Justice (DOJ) today to express
objections to the DOJ’s inclusion of activists and citizens, including
at least 37 environmental defenders, in its list of terrorists. At the
same time, they filed a petition calling on the DOJ to withdraw its
supplication.

“This terrorist tagging is intended to harass and silence the accused in
their advocacy of protecting the environment and defending the human
rights against the ecologically destructive and anti-people policies and
projects. In the context of Duterte government’s compromise of our
national sovereignty and patrimony to foreign interests, this repression
of opposition would further expose our natural resources to the
unbridled corporate greed of exploitative and privately-owned
corporations. We demand the Philippine government to withdraw its
terrorist list, junk its bogus petition, and issue a public apology,”
states the petition. It was signed by 53 organizations from 15 countries.

Included in DOJ terror list are special rapporteur Vicky Tauli-Corpuz,
indigenous Cordilleran and Lumad activists, and anti-mining and
anti-coal activists in Ilocos, Southern Tagalog, and Negros, among
others. The protest, held at the eve of Earth Day, highlights the
increasing opposition of more and more sectors against the Duterte
regime’s moves to suppress its critics.

“Green activists are being terror-listed, slapped with harassment
charges, faced with martial rule, and even murdered as if environmental
activism is a crime. Rodrigo Duterte’s counter insurgency and
anti-terrorism programs are clearly being trained on the strongest
pockets of resistance to big mines, plantations, dams, and other
destructive projects,” said Leon Dulce, national coordinator of
Kalikasan PNE.

International environmental groups such as the International Union for
the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and UN Environment (UNEP) have also
objected to the DOJ’s proscription list. A statement released by civil
society organizations of the Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable
Development held in Bangkok last March demanded the Philippine
government to “withdraw the justice department’s arbitrary petition,
stop the threats, intimidation and harassment of human rights, women,
and environmental defenders, adhere to international human rights and
international humanitarian laws, and bring justice to victims of rights
violations.”

December last year, around 120 environmental groups from 25 countries
raised concerns over the plight of Filipino environmental defenders,
urging the government to take concrete actions to stop the killings of
environmental defenders and bring to justice its perpetrators.
Government armed forces have a record of killing anyone they suspect to
be rebel sympathizers, environmental defenders included.

Based on the latest data gathered by international watchdog Global
Witness, the Philippines remains the 2nd deadliest in the world for land
and environmental defenders, recording 44 killings in 2017 alone.

“Duterte can no longer hide behind their pathetic excuse of ‘asserting
national sovereignty’ against foreign intervention on human rights
issues. These environment-related HRVs are directly linked to natural
resource plunder driven by foreign corporate interests,” said Dulce..

Notable foreign interests are involved with environmentally-destructive
projects that are in the pipeline which are also associated with rampant
militarization and human rights violations. Some of these projects
include the proposed Chinese-funded Kaliwa-Kanan dam in Rizal province,
the Australian take-over of Mt. Diwalwal’s resources in Compostela
Valley, and the controversial Tampakan mining project in Cotabato which
involved companies backed by Australian, Canadian, and Swiss capital. #

National Secretariat
Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment
26 Matulungin St. Central District, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, 1100
Tel: 02 356 21 66 | E-mail: secretariat@kalikasan.net | Site:
www.kalikasan.net