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Environmentalists light up for justice

In memory of contributions of those allegedly killed by authorities

Environmentalists light up for justice
Activists light green lanterns for slain and kidnapped comrades (photo courtesy of Kalikasan PNE)
D'Jay Lazaro, Manila

March 10, 2011

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Activists, indigenous people’s leaders and human rights advocates lit green lanterns for 39 environmentalists they say were victims of extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances. The groups also commemorated the second anniversary of the murder of anti-mining activist Eliezer “Boy” Billanes in the southern Philippine city of Koronadal on Wednesday. “Today we remember and cherish the contributions made by Billanes, Dr. Gerry Ortega, Leonard Co, Armin Marin and many other martyrs who contributed so much to the point of sacrificing their own lives for the protection of the environment and for the defense of people’s rights to their natural resources,” said Pia Malayao of Defend Patrimony, a national alliance against mining plunder. The event was held in Bulwagang Nicanor Delos Santos in Quezon City. According to Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE), 37 environmental activists have been killed since 2001. Recently, renowned botanist Leonard Co and Palawan environmental activist Dr. Gerry Ortega were among the four environmentalists allegedly slain under the new administration. “Until now, not a single case of killing was solved. Justice has not been rendered to the families and friends of the environmental martyrs,” said Marjorie Pamintuan of Kalikasan PNE. According to Kalikasan PNE, most of environmental activists killed were involved in campaigns against large-scale mining projects of the government. Most of the suspected perpetrators of these killings are police, military and security forces of private corporations. “The killings must stop and justice must be served. As long as anti-environment and anti-people policies of the government prevail, such as the Mining Act of 1995, environmental destruction and human rights violations will continue to escalate in the country,” said Pamintuan. PM13601.1644
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