Philippines Activists Condemn Attack on Journalist

Apr. 19, 2007

MANILA — Kalikasan-Peoples Network for the Environment today condemned the assassination attempt against Philippine Daily Inquirer Southern Luzon correspondent Delfin Mallari, Jr., saying that the Arroyo administration was doing nothing to prevent human rights violations against journalists and environmental activists.

“Ironically, Mallari even wrote an article last November 2006 on the extrajudicial killings of at least eighteen environmental activists affiliated with Kalikasan PNE (“Loss of 18 green activists mourned”, published on Page A14 of the November 2, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer). The victims were killed all under the administration of Gloria Arroyo from January 2001 to September 2006. Mallari has also consistently wrote about different environmental issues, including mining, biodiversity, environmental protection, and rights of marginalized sectors such as fisherfolks and national minorities. He’s not only a good and professional media practitioner but a genuine environmental advocate,” Kalikasan PNE National Coordinator Clemente Bautista Jr said.

“It is enraging to see how a journalist who bravely penned articles on human rights violations in the Philippines has himself become a victim of such violent impunity and disrespect for life,” Bautista said.

“To date, 18 environmental activists have been killed and not one case has been brought to justice. Journalists such as Mallari have been exposing these realities and ironically are being victimized by such wanton violence as well,” he stressed.

“The first environmental activist killed under Pres. Arroyo’s term was Nicanor Delos Santos, a leader of the Dumagat tribe in Rizal and the Secretary General of the Makbayan Samahan ng Katutubong Dumagat (MASKADA) and the Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan sa Pilipinas (KAMP). Delos Santos was killed in Antipolo, Rizal on December 8, 2001 by suspected members of the Task Force Panther of the 2nd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army led by a certain Col. Laureano Tolentino. Delos Santos was suspected to have been killed in relation to his opposition to the P47.9 billion Laiban Dam project in Tanay, Rizal which was reported today as having been approved by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Bautista noted.

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