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Filipino Environmental Advocates' Plea: Stop Activist Killings
Quezon City, Philippines - Responding to the brutal killings of nine activists last March 7, environmental advocates pressed the government to ensure that the lives and liberties of those peacefully exercising their constitutionally-guaranteed rights are upheld and protected.
"As the fight for Mother Earth is a fight for her children too, the EcoWaste Coalition condemns the spate of politically-linked killings that have claimed the lives of activists working for and with the marginalized sectors,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition, including the nine activists who perished from the bloodbath last Sunday following joint police-military operations in Calabarzon, a region in northern Philippines.
“As an exponent of a rights-based approach to societal development, we are seriously concerned about the ever shrinking space for activism in the country, especially for individuals and groups that have been maliciously red-tagged and attacked,” expressed Lucero.
“We reject the alarming culture of violence and impunity, and call for full respect for and compliance with legal processes and the rule of law. We join freedom and justice-loving Filipinos in seeking accountability and justice, and support the call to end impunity for abuses and crimes against activists,” she added.
“As part of the civil society, we also call on all duty bearers to protect arenas and opportunities for meaningful public participation, including dissent, that are essential to building a socially just and inclusive, politically vibrant and economically and environmentally sustainable society,” stated the EcoWaste Coalition, an independent and non-profit environmental health organization.
Lea Guerrero, Country Director of Greenpeace Philippines, an environmental organization that values non-violence and promotes peace and justice, likewise denounced the recent spate of killings of Filipino social activists.
“Activist killings must stop. We stand in solidarity with activists in the Philippines and around the world who carry the burden of persecution and risk in their important work to enable peaceful, positive social change for the sake of marginalized sectors and the planet,” she said.
“We demand justice and peace for activists of all causes and call for the urgency of having effective protection mechanisms for those who are peacefully defending our rights and the environment,” she added.
Zero waste and clean air advocate Rene Pineda observed that “the dark and horrible history of the Martial Law Rule is repeated,” stressing that “this is deplorable and has to be stopped,”
Through a text message sent to the EcoWaste Coalition, environmental policy expert and lawyer Tony La Viña said “I condemn these killings,” lamenting that “judicial orders are now death warrants.”
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Website: www.ecowastecoalition.org, http://ecowastecoalition.blogspot.com