11 August 2018
We environmental advocates join the growing public clamor against the recently revived harassment lawsuits and warrants of arrest against Satur Ocampo, Liza Maza, Paeng Mariano and Teddy Casiño, the Makabayan 4. These baseless charges of murder is a vile attempt to silence these known champions of human rights, social justice, and environmental defense.
In their capacity as former public officials and long-time activists, the Makabayan 4 made important environmental actions and meaningful reforms such as:
The filing of landmark legislations such as the People’s Mining Bill, the Toxics Control Act Amendment Bill, and the 1-Million Solar Roofs Bill, among others. The passage of the Free Disaster Alerts Act originated from the authored bills by these lawmakers.
The spearheading of investigations into various environmental concerns such as the proliferation of big dams, metallic and coal mining projects, killings of environmental defenders, and landfills, among others.
Executive policies such as the moratorium on land use conversion and a national advocacy campaign on food, water, environmental protection, and other basic anti-poverty needs.
Serving as plaintiffs in important legal actions against anti-environment projects and policies such as the Subic Bay Coal Power Plant, the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, and the Mining Act of 1995, among others.
Leading mass mobilizations against mining, agrochemicals, plantations, and other destructive projects, and for climate justice, sustainable agriculture and marine wildlife protection, among others, over the past two decades.
The revived case was already headed for the dumps with its discredited witnesses, improper procedures, and questionable evidence when their warrants were released. This renewed threat of arrest against leaders of the staunchest critics and dissenters against the Duterte government’s rule is the latest precedent for even more widespread attacks against environmental defenders and other social activists.
We recall the terror listing of more than 600 names, including Ka Satur and at least 46 environmental defenders. There is also the barrage of harassment suits against more than 400 anti-mining and other environmental activists since Duterte became president.
As such, we enjoin our fellow colleagues in the environmental movement to voice their opposition to the Duterte regime’s persecution of our pro-people, pro-environment leaders and demand that the trumped up charges and warrant of arrest against the four be junked immediately.
Defending the environment is not a crime! Hands off the Makabayan 4!
Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment
Center for Environmental Concerns – Philippines
Digital Communications Manager
350.org East Asia
AGHAM – Advocates of Science and Technology for the People