[Press Release] Greens slams arrest of activist due to Facebook post -Green Convergence

Greens slams arrest of activist due to Facebook post

MANILA, Philippines – The country’s largest environmental coalition slammed the recent arrest of an anti-mining activist in Cagayan province using a Facebook post as main evidence for a libel suit.

Green Convergence for Safe Food, Healthy Environment and Sustainable Economy (Green Convergence) in a statement condemned the arrest of Esperlita Garcia for the facts that she stated in Facebook about the destructive black sand mining in Gonzaga municipality and the local authorities unbecoming behavior in dealing with those who oppose mining.

“What is the basis of this arrest? Publicizing information is not libelous and should not be stopped whether it appears in print or online,” said Marie Marciano of Saniblakas ng Taongbayan Foundation (SALIKA), external vice president of Green Convergence.

“Surely, the Cybercrime Prevention Law does not mean to prevent such publication but if said Law were the purported basis for her arrest, the judge who issued the warrant for her arrest should have known that this Law has not taken effect as the Supreme Court has issued a 120-day Temporary Restraining Order on it,’ Marciano added.

‘Garcia’s arrest is clearly illegal and should not be tolerated by the Department of Justice nor by any freedom-loving Filipino.’

Garcia is president of Gonzaga Alliance for Environmental Protection and Preservation (GAEPP), network-member of the Federation of Environmental Advocates in Cagayan Province (FEAC) and the national alliance pushing for mining policy reforms, Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM). She is also a member of the board of trustees of Save Sierra Madre Network Alliance Inc. (SSMN) Both ATM and SSMNA Inc. are members of Green Convergence.

“In view of climate change, it is criminal to minimize by even an inch the stretch of land that serves as buffer between human settlements and the rising sea level,” explained Dr. Angelina Galang, environment professor at Miriam College and President of Green Convergence.

Galang said that it is terrible enough that local officials have been approving such business ventures which benefit only foreign countries where our land will be exported. To arrest a citizen who has been fighting against this activity and spreading awareness on the harm it has done is a great disservice to our country.

“Green Convergence, therefore, supports Esperlita Garcia in her brave campaign for our country’s environment and we call on President Benigno Aquino and the relevant government agencies to stop this obvious harassment and to correct this great injustice,” Galang concluded.

The environmental coalition also condemns the recent series of extra-judicial killings of anti-mining leaders in Mindanao and calls for an immediate investigation and moratorium of mining operations until all relevant policies and laws are put in place giving primacy to the conservation and protection of the environment and human rights.

GREEN CONVERGENCE is an environmental coalition of individuals, organizations and the following networks: Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), Network Opposed to GMOs (NO to GMO), EcoWaste Coalition, Save Sierra Madre Network (SSMN), , Environmental Education Network of the Philippines (EENP), Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation Commission – Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (JPICC-AMRSP), Partnership for Clean Air, Earthday Network of the Philippines, Youth for Sustainable Development Assembly (YSDA), Civil Society Counterpart Council for Sustainable Development (CSC-CSD), Philippine Federation for Environmental Concerns (PFEC), among others.

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Angelina P. Galang, Green Convergence President – ninagalang@ymail.com – 09178538841
Marie Marciano, Green Convergence external VP – 09202735325

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