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Priest, journalists ’run for justice’

Outpouring of anger over murder of Philippine radio broadcaster Gerardo Ortega

Priest, journalists ’run for justice’
Father Robert Reyes, right, and Gina Lopez of ABS-CBN Foundation, run with journalists in Puerto Princesa City
Eliseo Valendez, Puerto Princesa City

January 27, 2011

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A priest led a group of environmental activists and journalists in a “Run for Justice” yesterday to condemn the recent killing of journalist Gerardo Ortega in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan province. Father Robert Reyes, the so-called “running priest,” said they were “sad and very angry” at Ortega’s killing. The group ran from Puerto Princesa Airport to Sta. Monica Chapel in Sta. Monica Village where Ortega’s wake is being held. Ortega was shot dead on Jan. 24 whilst out shopping following his daily morning radio broadcast. The priest said Ortega was known to locals as a courageous advocate, “whose only intention was to preserve Palawan from environmental destruction.” In his radio program “Ramatak,” Ortega heavily criticized local government officials who supported mining concessions in the province. Father Reyes, who is in charge of several environmental programs of the Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Princesa, said Ortega “fought against politicians whose aim is to sell Palawan for personal gain.” These leaders promise “sustainable logging” and “sustainable mining” but later on forget what the word “sustainable” means, said the priest. Gina Lopez, president of the ABS-CBN Foundation that worked with Ortega on environmental and tourism projects, joined the run. She said the broadcaster only dreamed of a “country where natural resources would be protected and nurtured.” Father Reyes told the Church has launched a 10-million signature petition against mining in the province. Related reports Further attacks on environmentalists likely Philippine anti-mining activists remain defiant PM13063.1638
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