“We call on the CHR and the various UN human rights and environmental offices we have worked with in the past years to undertake preventive interventions against these human rights abuses and threats.”
By NICO PINPIN
MANILA – Filipino environmentalist groups have assailed the new wave of surveillance, harassment, and red-tagging of their members in the past five days..
The Center for Environmental Concerns-Philippines (CEC) and Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) said men believed to be police officers in plainclothes knocked on their office on Thursday, June 9, and took photos of their staff.
The groups said their staff did not consent to being photographed and that no search warrant was also presented.
Earlier today, men believed to be police officers were once again seen taking photos of their office, the green groups added in their joint statement.
The wave of harassment and red-tagging happened following the mass arrests of 93 farmers and land reform advocates in Hacienda Tinang in Concepcion, Tarlac, and the recent arrest of an anti-dam activist in Pakil, Laguna.
Apart from the two environmentalist groups, they also noted the spate in red-tagging incidents on progressive partylists.
“We fear that this is the beginning of a crackdown against land and environmental defenders under the incoming authoritarian Marcos-Duterte regime,” the group said.
This is not the first time that Kalikasan and CEC were subjected to red-tagging. In 2018, there was an attempt to raid their office, they said, citing their then collaborations with the Commission on Human Rights and international groups such as the United Nations Human Rights System, Global Witness and the International Union for Conservation of Nature for their work on the issues and challenges being faced by environmental defenders.
They said, “We call on the CHR and the various UN human rights and environmental offices we have worked with in the past years to undertake preventive interventions against these human rights abuses and threats.” (JJE, RVO)