Further attacks on environmentalists likely

Filipino green group issues stark warning after murder of broadcaster

Further attacks on environmentalists likely
Dr. Gerardo Ortega speaks during a protest action against mining in Palawan province
Joe Torres, Manila, Philippines

January 25, 2011

A green group is warning “environmental defenders” face further attacks following the killing on Monday of Gerardo Ortega, a Filipino radio commentator known for supporting environment issues.

“Dr. Ortega worked tirelessly to educate and convince people to oppose and not allow mining in his province,” said Clemente Bautista, coordinator of the Kalikasan-People’s Network for the Environment.

He said other anti-mining activists have “suffered the same fate.... They were killed because of their outspoken defense of the environment and communities.”

Police say a lone gunman shot and killed Ortega, a veterinarian, while he was out shopping after his daily morning broadcast in the southern Philippine province of Palawan.

Environmental and media groups condemned the killing.

“The death of Dr. Ortega is a serious loss to the movement dedicated to environmental protection,” Bautista said.

Environmentalists “continue to be targeted, hunted and killed,” he added.

According to Bautista, Ortega was the first prominent environmentalist killed this year and the 37th since 2001. He said 28 of them were anti-mining activists.

“We believe Dr. Ortega was killed because of his active involvement in preserving the biodiversity and environment of Palawan against large-scale and foreign mining,” said Bautista.

Related reports
Philippine anti-mining activists remain defiant
Fight for ‘environmental justice’ ongoing