Hi YLNM and IPCM members.
Below are our two statements (October 7 and September 22) regarding the continuing threat and harassment being done to Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan) and its member Center for Environmental Concerns, PHilippines (CEC)
IT has been 3 weeks now that we are on high-alert because of continuing surveillance and threat of raid on our headquarters. We have received reliable information and reports from several sources including local government officials that police units from Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) would raid our office saying Kalikasan as front for rebel recruitment.
We would like to enjoin you to give solidarity and condemn this harassment to our organization. We believe this is an effort of state forces to stifle us in advocacy to protect the environment and defend the rights of communities. Right now, Kalikasan and CEC are very active in the campaign against destructive projects such as the OceanaGold large-scale mining operation, San Miguel Corporation Aerotropolis and reclamation projects, and our campaign to defend environmental defenders in the Philippines.
We enjoin you to support us and give solidarity in any way you can.
For the people and the environment,
07 October 2019
SHARING SANCTUARY AND SUPPORT FOR LUMAD LAND DEFENDERS IS NOT A CRIME
We, campaigners and development workers of the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment and the Center for Environmental Concerns – Philippines, recently confirmed an attempt by the Philippine National Police to raid our shared headquarters in Quezon City last Friday, October 4.
A reliable source, whose identity we will withhold for safety reasons, revealed that a contingent of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) attempted to raid our offices for allegedly harboring indigenous Lumad children and educating them to become activists.
The raid was called off because local officials discouraged the NCRPO operatives in the absence of a search warrant, having no sufficient actionable information and a Tokhang-like operati will surely backfire on them.
For the record, we have indeed opened our office space as a temporary sanctuary for Lumad leaders and students who have evacuated from Mindanao to Metro Manila to escape and raise alarm over violent attacks against their tribes, lands, and schools. Since when has this been a crime? Does this even warrant a raid of our offices?
We believe supporting and empowering our Lumad brothers and sisters is a critical solution to the ecological crises we face today. They are the natural stewards of at least 7.7 million hectares of forests, agricultural lands, rivers, and reefs covered by their ancestral domain across the island of Mindanao.
Precisely because of this concentration of natural wealth in their territories, that the Lumads of Mindanao have become targets for displacement by the biggest extractive and destructive business interests in the country. Almost 50 percent of all the 225 environment-related killings, monitored since 2001, was perpetrated in the island of Mindanao. Indigenous peoples comprised 36 percent of all the victims.
The Lumads are at the nexus of ongoing ethnocide and ecocide in the country. President Rodrigo Duterte cannot escape responsibility for this crisis, with his declaration that he will bring in his handpicked foreign investors into the Lumad lands himself and that he will bomb Lumad schools who oppose his drive to plunder their natural resources. This is why these forces want to dismantle the broad support environmental and rights movements in the Philippines are throwing behind the Lumad struggle.
We believe it is not a coincidence that these attacks come during and after we recently came out with a report on Filipino environmental defender killings under Duterte with international anti-corruption group Global Witness. CEC and Kalikasan have joined the Lumads in exposing the violence perpetrated by large scale mines and agribusiness alongside mercenary military and paramilitary groups in Mindanao.
We are issuing this warning to Duterte and his police and military: Environmental defenders have a world to win. We will not be cowed by your tyrannical rule.
You will be made to answer to national and international institutions and the global public if you persist with these tactics of harassment and intimidation. # # #
International Networks Coordinator
22 September 2019
Int’l NGOs hit PH gov’t’s continuing harassment of green groups
International non-government organizations bucked the ongoing harassment on the headquarters of Filipino environmental organizations Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) and the Center for Environmental Concerns – Philippines (CEC Phils), which included surveillance and a lingering threat of a raid into their offices.
“We are shocked and alarmed by the news of a planned raid into the headquarters of one of our partner organisations in the Philippines. Although the raid has not materialised until now, we are deeply concerned for their wellbeing,” said Dutch environmental groups International Union for Conservation of Nature – National Committee of the Netherlands (IUCN NL) and Both ENDS in a joint statement.
The local environmental groups was tipped of by a reliable source last Thursday evening that their office wes allegedly under surveillance from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG). The office was reportedly going to be raided pending a warrant from the court for being a ‘front of rebels.’
Kalikasan PNE staff members monitored suspected incidents of surveillance on the following day. The latest incident was just last Saturday afternoon, when a police car with marking number A5F667 slowly drived by the office with an officer slowly taking a video of the office.
“Kalikasan PNE is a valuable partner of Both ENDS and IUCN NL. As part of their work in Strategic Partnerships with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, they have provided valuable inputs to the Manila Bay Sustainable Development Masterplan carried out in a Dutch-Filipino partnership,” the Dutch groups said in the statement.
They also furthered that Kalikasan PNE was actively leading in “defending the rights of local farmers, indigenous peoples and local communities against the environmental damage and human rights violations linked to the mining sector.”
Enemies of the state?
In a separate statement, British watchdog Global Witness said the red tagging and harassment “fits a national and global trend of criminalisation of land rights and environmental activism not only in the Philippines but globally.”
“Global Witness wishes to express its support for these organisations and calls upon the government to guarantee the security of their members and ensure that due process is followed in any and all judicial processes brought against rights activists in the country,” the group said.
Global Witness said that aside from using “deadly violence” against environmental defenders, “governments and companies are also using countries’ courts and legal systems as instruments of oppression against those who threaten their power and interests.”
“Criminalising defenders in this way makes attacks on them seem legitimate, making them more likely. These trends continue across the globe, helped by populist politicians who are stripping away vital environmental protections when we need them most.,” the watchdog explained.
Leon Dulce, national coordinator of Kalikasan PNE, said “we are heartened by the solidarity of the international community as we face these clear reprisals by the Duterte government.”
“We suspect these harassments are a retaliation to our exposure of environment-related killings before the National Inquiry on Human Rights Defenders of the Commission on Human Rights. We urge our fellow environmental defenders, our supporters, and the general public to be vigilant over these attacks,” said Dulce.
The group said they have reported the situation to the CHR, and have received a response that an investigation into the matter is ongoing.#
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