ATM Press Statement for the SONAgkaisa Press Conference

July 17, 2020

The Anti-Terror Law will only increase the risks and threats faced by environmental activists, and the Philippines is already considered one of the deadliest countries to be a green activist or a land rights defender.  Under the Duterte administration, at least 113 environmental and land rights defenders have been killed, most of them falsely tagged as communists and terrorists before being assassinated.  We must stop the Duterte administration and its fixation on disciplinarian approach, militarization and national security, to address COVID19, at the expense of human rights and the rule of law. 

 

Duterte has miserably failed in delivering his promise to stop destructive mining.  This is true in the case of Tampakan (South Cotabato) and Didipio (Nueva Vizcaya) which have continued to enjoy the support of this administration.  And mining operations are allowed to continue despite the pandemic, especially in Masbate, Palawan, Lyete, Samar, Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Norte and Surigao del Norte.

 

We denounce the reversal of the closure and suspension orders against mining companies, that were issued by former DENR Secretary Gina Lopez last Feb. 2017.

 

In fact, DENR has betrayed the people and the environment by promoting mining and river-dredging as part of the economic stimulus recovery in this COVID19 pandemic.  The agency has miserably failed to see and address the links of deforestation and permanent land use change that leads to climate change, which in turn changes the biology and behavior of insects and animals that has resulted to new diseases and pandemics line COVID19.

 

We will continue to lend our voices to amplify the calls of environmental defenders who fight for their communities despite being met with violence from state and private actors. We will continue to demand accountability and a just recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.

 

As part of the Green Thumb Coalition (GTC) and the SONAgkaisa broad alliance, ATM will contribute in the following activities;

  1. We will issue a Green Scorecard for Duterte Admin, and hold this government accountable;

  2. Conduct a “green” creative action before the SONA (details to be announced on July 21);

  3. support several locally-driven but nationally-coordinated actions in solidarity with SONAgkaisa on July 27, 2020.  These will be in the affected communities, outside of Metro Manila, for communities resisting mining operations, dam construction, coal power plants, illegal large-scale plantations, and other environmental issues.

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