SONA 2012: Killings of environmental activists alarm rights groups
by Ronalyn Olea, www.thepoc.net
July 23, 2012
Aquino recently signed Executive Order no. 79, purportedly “aimed to strengthen the enforcement of environmental laws on mining.” Critics said the new executive order only aims to boost government revenues but fails to address legitimate concerns of mining-affected communities.
According to Kalikasan partylist, 17 ecologists have already been killed and one abducted and tortured under the Aquino administration. Of the 17 victims, 14 were vocal against large-scale, destructive mining.
Among the victims are Palawan environmentalist and broadcaster Dr. Gerry Ortega and world-renowned botanist Leonard Co and his two companions. Both cases remain unresolved to this day. The main suspect in the murder of Ortega, former Palawan Governor Joel Reyes, remains at large. Elements of the 19th Infantry Battalion implicated in the killing of Co and his companions, meanwhile, remain unpunished.
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