26 Matulungin St. Central Dist., Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, 1100
Tel: 356 2166 E-mail: secretariat@kalikasan.net Website: www.kalikasan.net

23 May 2018

Greens say: ‘Lift Martial Law in Mindanao, now!’

The Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) joined the call of the people anew for the Duterte regime to lift its extended Martial Law imposition in Mindanao. It has been a full year since Martial Law was declared in Mindanao purportedly to flush out an armed religious group that occupied the city of Marawi, yet environmental defenders have been among those in the receiving end of numerous human rights violations that accompanied Martial Law.

“Since the declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao, 20 environmental defenders in Mindanao had been killed. These include the grisly massacre of eight Manobo Lumad in Lake Ned, South Cotabato. They were opposed to the coal mining of the Consunji tycoons in their ancestral land. Their massacre further underscores the severity of the human rights situation for environmental defenders in Mindanao, as the Philippines enters its second year as the most dangerous country in Asia for environmental defenders,” said Leon Dulce, National Coordinator of Kalikasan PNE.

The eight environmental defenders are from T’boli and Dulangan Manobo Lumad Tribes defending the Daguma Mountain range, which is considered a global Key Biodiversity Area, housing more than 50 Philippine endemic species, with more than 20 species only seen in Mindanao and nearby islands. Communities in other environmentally-critical areas such as the Andap Valley in Compostela and the Pantaron Mountain Range in Northeastern Mindanao also face militarization aimed at paving the way for so-called “development” projects.

Aside from killings and torture incidents, 400,000 families were displaced from the fighting in Marawi alone. This figure does not include the thousands of families elsewhere in Mindanao who have been forced by militarization to flee their homes.

“With Martial Law in Mindanao, communities opposed to mining projects which have long been threatened and harassed by state military forces would have to continue enduring the terror that state armed forces are sowing amid them with impunity,” Dulce added.

The group said that the declaration of Martial Law and Duterte’s other attacks against democracy and human rights does nothing to help address the underlying problems of landlessness, plunder of natural resource, land-grabbing, and joblessness. But the continuing implementation of Martial Law in Mindanao only adds to the growing list of the Duterte regime’s tyrannical measures designed to concentrate power onto him and stifle dissent, such as the opposition to environmentally-destructive projects that the regime is pursuing. Environmental defenders remain at the cross hairs especially as some of them are in a list whom the government accuses as ‘terrorists.’

“Thus, we call on our fellow environmental defenders and advocates to add their voice to the snowballing call for the Duterte regime to lift Martial Law in Mindanao. It is imperative in order for us to preserve and protect the pristine forests and lush biodiversity of Mindanao from plunderous mining threats and plantations,” Dulce ended. #

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(at)kalikasan(dot)net | Site: www(dot)kalikasan(dot)net