Earth Day Hat Parade Expose Country’s Environmental Woes

Third Environment Activist Victim under Aquino Regime

Defenders of the environment have also been falling victim to extrajudicial killings. Human Rights group Hustisya said that in their fight to protect the environment, environmental crusaders have been targeted by private armies of corrupt politicians and by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) itself.

“Nothing has changed under the Aquino government. There has been no let up in extrajudicial killings and in fact, things have worsened because there is the pretense that the Philippines is under a democracy. The number of victims of human rights violations continue to rise, and the sector of environmental activists have their own martyrs for whom we also demand justice. The best tribute that we can give our environmental martyrs are to continue what they begun. In life they protected the environment; in death they have become symbols of the necessity to continue fighting for human rights,” said Cristina Guevarra, deputy-secretary general of the group.

Only recently, an anti-large-scale mining activist was killed . President of the Federation of Miners’ Association in Pantukan (FEDMAP), Santos “Ricky” Manrique was killed by hired assassins on April 12, 2011 in Compostela Valley while having dinner at his house.

According to the Defend Patrimony Alliance and the Task Force Justice for Environmental Defenders, Manrique actively took part in the small scale miners’ struggle against the entry of large scale and foreign mining corporations in Pantukan. He was also a member of Save Pantukan Alliance, an environmental and anti-large scale mining network in the province.

Manrique also led the campaign and resistance against the entry of US- based mining company Russell Mining and Minerals which clinched a partnership with the Nationwide Development Corporation (NADECOR) over a 1,663-hectare area covered with a Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) permit in the province. In the past, Manrique, FEDMAP and other groups successfully hindered the mining operations of Toronto Ventures Inc. (TVI) in Brgy. Kingking Pantukan.

TVI, a Canadian-owned mining company, operates a gold mining operation in the Zamboanga Peninsula. Indigenous people, religious and environmental groups staunchly opposed their destructive operations in the area. On March 6, 2011, a TVI security guard shot Rudy Segovia, a farmer and small miner who stood against TVI mining operations, during a protest-rally in front of the mining office in Zamboanga Sibugay.

Manrique is the third anti-large scale mining activist killed under the Aquino administration. The other is environmental activist Dr. Gerry Ortega who fought against large-scale mining operations in Palawan.

Share This Post